Published: Friday 29 June, 2018

COA Findings: Wanda Teo Withdrew P2.52 Million in Goods from Duty Free

The Commission on Audit (COA) has unearthed more anomalies at the Department of Tourism (DOT) under Wanda Teo. According to its report, Teo withdrew millions worth of goods from Duty Free Philippines.

Wanda Teo Duty Free

COA finds questionable transactions between Wanda Teo and Duty Free Philippines.

COA said a total of P2.52 million of Duty Free Philippines Corp. (DFPC) goods and merchandise were withdrawn by former DOT secretary Wanda Teo and undersecretary Rolando Cañizal in 2017. And what’s even more alarming, the withdrawn merchandise were pulled out from DFPC without being recorded in its book of accounts.

According to COA, the goods include luxury items such as cosmetics, branded bags, chocolates, canned goods, appliances, kitchenware, bedding and toiletry.

DFPC is an attached agency of the DOT. As such, it is required to remit some of its profits to the tourism department to help fund tourism programs and projects. But according to COA’s findings, instead of remitting the profit share in full, the merchandise were deducted from it.

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This is unlawful because such deductions violate Section 106 of Republic Act No. 9593, or the Tourism Act of 2009, which states that the DOT’s share of DFPC net profits can be used only to offset any excess remittance from the previous year.

“Duty Free’s authority to make deductions from the share of DOT from its net revenues is confined to the recoupment of over-remittances as specifically provided under Section 106 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9593,” said COA in its report.

And there’s more. Aside from the P2.52 million in merchandise, the audit also found:

  • P1.6 million was used to pay for the services of an unnamed consultant for the promotion of DOT and DFPC projects;
  • P19.6 million worth of Duty Free merchandise was also used as ‘corporate giveaways’. These included LED TVs, branded bags and shoes, refrigerators, coffee makers, other kitchen appliances, wines and other food items.
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COA asked the DOT to pay DFPC the amount deducted from its profit share and stop such practice. 

Wanda Teo resigned at DOT chief earlier this year after a questionable contract between the government TV network (PTV) and her brother’s production outfit for DOT advertisements amounting to P60 million.