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Bitag Media ordered to return 60 million pesos, Tulfo refuses

Bitag Media ordered to return 60 million pesos, Tulfo refuses

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  • DOT paid Bitag Media 60 million for their advertisements to be aired on the show
  • Wanda Teo, Tulfo’s sister was the secretary of DOT at that time
  • COA flagged the deal and investigation is ongoing

Bitag is a public service program hosted by Ben Tulfo and produced by Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. It has won awards such as Best Public Service Program and Best Public Service Program Host.

Back in 2017, the Department of Tourism through PTV-4, which is a government station, paid Bitag Media 60 million pesos for an advertisement deal that included airing of Department of Tourism (DOT) ads on Tulfo’s program Kilos Pronto.

The thing that is suspicious here is that Wanda Teo, Tulfo’s sister, was the DOT secretary at the time. This breach of ethics and the controversy that followed forced Teo to resign her position.

“Sa mga nagsasabing isauli ang pera at hinihintay daw ang 60-M, mamuti na mga mata n’yo! Wala kaming isasauli!” said Tulfo a few years back.

But he also added that the reason they got paid is because they returned the money in service, and that is by airing ads.

“Malinis ho ang konsensya namin. Hindi ho kami nangungulimbat, hindi ho kami nagnanakaw ng pera sa gobyerno. Kung kami po ay binayaran, dahil po may serbisyong idinulot.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the DOJ is willing to help the OMB in investigating the deal, but that the DOJ doesn’t actually have the capability to recover the said amount.

“In any event, if the DOJ will be asked to help in the investigation, we are ready to act on our own and/or coordinate with the OMB.”

The Commission of Audit (COA) saw †the deal as suspicious last year and flagged it, which lead the OMB to start an investigation on it.

The audit body said that is is possible that Teo be held liable for graft.

“Should a graft case prosper and reach the Sandiganbayan, the recovery of the P60 million paid to Ben Tulfo’s company will be automatically part of that action,” Guevarra said.

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Wanda Tulfo-Teo denies allegations of DOT funds misuse

Wanda Tulfo-Teo denies allegations of DOT funds misuse

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  • Wanda Teo answered speculations about her misuse of DOT funds and goods.
  • She stated that she feels insulted over the allegations because she can actually afford to buy them for herself.

Former Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo defends herself from allegations that she misused the Department of Tourism (DOT) funds that were obtained from Duty Free Philippines Corporation.

In an episode of ANC’s Head Start on Wednesday, Teo was asked about the Commission on Audit’s (COA) report stating that the DOT had Php2 million worth of branded luxury items taken from the Duty Free stocks. She defended herself and denied it, saying that she can afford those items.

“This is for coporate accounts, hindi ako puwedeng magturo. I can afford.” 

“Hindi ko type ang Coach bag. Puwede ba? That’s why ang sakit sakin. They were saying even the Rolex watch, I’ve been using Rolex watch from the start and there’s no Rolex watch at Duty Free.

“Are they selling watch? Do they have signature bags?”

Teo added that she feels insulted because of the allegations.

“Insulted because… oh my God I can afford because I go out of the country. I’ve been traveling a lot even before I was a secretary.” Teo said.

“Mayabang siguro sasabihin. Sasabihin siguro ng anak ko: ‘wag ka magyabang, Ma.’ But hindi ko type talaga.”

She also said that she did not sign any document indicating that she received the items. She explained that the items were given to clients who solicit from them.

She added that funds are from the shared earnings with the Tourism department.

It can be remembered that back in late June, the COA has released their 2017 annual audit report on Duty Free indicating that DOT should be billed for merchandise amounting to more than P2 million.

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Tulfos will not return the 60 Million to the Government

Tulfos will not return the 60 Million to the Government

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  • Wanda Tulfo-Teo answered the question about whether her brothers will return the Php60 Million to the Government.
  • Teo stated that they cannot return the money as it has already been used.

Tulfo siblings insisted that they will not return the Php60 million they received from the government as payment for an advertisement deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and People’s Television Network Incorporated (PTV).

During the Senate hearing about the controversy on August 14, Senator Risa Hontiveros asked Wanda Tulfo-Teo if her brothers will return the money. She answered that Ben Tulfo was initially open for it, however, when Atty. Ferdinand Topacio suggested the money to be returned, she answered him that it would be difficult since it has already been spent.

Teo added that what her brother would do with the situations is no longer her decision to make.

“It was suggested by Atty Topacio – he was my lawyer before – if the money could be returned. At the time, there was so much going on already, I asked my brother if it’s possible, if they could return the money. At the end of the day, it’s up to PTV4 and my brother if they would return the money, because our payment was with PTV4.

 “Actually, my first decision was that it should not be returned. When Atty Topacio told me, I said it would be difficult because the money was used already. They already paid, and a lot was already done. But he said you have to do the ultimate sacrifice, so I told my brother and then he said, later on, my younger brother kind of agreed. At the end of the day, whether they return it or not is no longer my decision to make.”

Contradicting Topacio’s statement, Ben Tulfo said that Topacio has no right to speak for him as he is Teo’s lawyer. The siblings also said that they cannot return the money as they already have paid for the production of the said advertisement.

On the other hand, Erwin Tulfo denied his involvement on his brother’s company Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc. (BMUI) and claimed that he’s only a talent.

It can be remembered that Ben Tulfo, who is the the chief executive officer and founder of BUMI said on Facebook dated July 26, that the company obtained the money with a legitimate contract between his Kilos Pronto program and the People’s Television (PTV), which is the government’s flagship television network.

He wrote, “Anong isasauli? Maninigil pa nga kami dahil may utang pa sa’min ang principal na PTV-4 dun sa kanilang kliyente, ang DOT. Kumpleto kami sa kontrata at mga dokumento. Legal ang ginawa namin. Nai-deliver at tinrabaho namin.”

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“Anong isasauli? Maninigil pa nga kami!” Ben Tulfo, not returning the 60M; claims the Deal was legal

“Anong isasauli? Maninigil pa nga kami!” Ben Tulfo, not returning the 60M; claims the Deal was legal

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  • Ben Tulfo refused to return the Php60 Million his media outlet received from an advertisement deal with the government.
  • On a Facebook post, he claimed that the deal was legal and they had papers to prove it.

Broadcaster Ben Tulfo, the brother of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulf0-Teo, has said that his media company will not return the Php60 million that was paid for an advertisement deal with the government.

The people demanded that his company must give back the said money as the government auditors saw a possible violation of the anti-graft law.

Image: Screengrab from BITAG July 26, 2018 Episode

Tulfo, the chief executive officer and founder of Bitag Media Unlimited, Inc. (BMUI) said on facebook dated July 26, that the company obtained the money with a legitimate contract between his Kilos Pronto program and the People’s Television (PTV), which is the government’s flagship television network.

Image: Screengrab from BITAG Live’s Facebook post

He wrote, “Anong isasauli? Maninigil pa nga kami dahil may utang pa sa’min ang principal na PTV-4 dun sa kanilang kliyente, ang DOT. Kumpleto kami sa kontrata at mga dokumento. Legal ang ginawa namin. Nai-deliver at tinrabaho namin.”

The broadcaster added that he won’t return the money even if people’s eyes turn white. “Sa mga nagsasabing isauli ang pera at hinihintay daw ang 60-M, mamuti na mga mata niyo! Wala kaming isasauli! Sa mga nagsasabing ilegal at nangulimbat kami, e’di sampahan niyo kami ng kaso, tutal nandyan naman ang COA at Ombudsman!”

The issue started in April, when Commission on Audit (COA) released their 2017 report. It was found that Teo may possibly be liable for graft after PTV 4 paid Php60 million to BMUI to air DOT advertisements. It is said that “Considering that the DOT secretary and the producer of  ‘Kilos Pronto’ are siblings, there is a possible conflict of interest, which may be a violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,”.

Teo’s lawyer Ferdinand Topacio stated that the media firm will return the payment, however, Teo did quit as tourism chief right after the announcement.

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Department of Tourism pushes Malabon tricycle tours

Department of Tourism pushes Malabon tricycle tours

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  • DOT secretary urges media publicity for “emerging” tourists spots in Metro Manila
  • Malabon City as a new tourist destination
  • Tricycle drivers as local tour guides

Tired of travelling to far places – lining up to bus terminals and airports? Why not try going around Metro Manila instead? You just might find new spots and interesting activities to try out!

Calling all tourists and travelers! Looks like we have a new tourist destination in town.

In an interview with Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary, Wanda Teo, she talked about emerging and wonderful tourists destinations in the streets of Metro Manila.

“There are, in fact, many activities for visitors of different itineraries in Metro Manila alone,” she said in the interview.

The DOT secretary urges that destinations in National Capital Region (NCR) should receive publicity as well and calls for help in the media to promote and feature stories to attract not just the foreign tourists but also the locals.

“We are banking on the media to tell stories that will attract not just the foreign tourists but also the locals,” said Teo.

To prove the beauty hidden in NCR, Teo headed the tour in the city of Malabon while onboard a tricycle, going around the city’s best-kept secrets.

Among these are the 404-year-old Bartolome church, Syjuco Heritage House, the art gallery of Angel Cacnio, Borja Mansion, and the Immaculate Concepcion Church.

“Malabon is a nice place, it’s different. It’s a place we should patronize. It’s a new destination. We’re finished with beaches. We should go to other destinations so they will be more known,” Teo said.

“This covers all from culture, faith, and culinary tourism. It covers everything,” Teo added.

The DOT Secretary also stressed the uniqueness of the tricycles as it cannot be found in other countries.

“The tricycle is very unique. There’s nothing like it anywhere else, that is why we should make an effort to promote this project,” she said, after taking the Malabon Tricycle Tour that offers trips to different churches and heritage houses within the city.

The Malabon Tricycle Tours offer three different packages: the Heritage Tour priced as PHP 250 per person, the Food Trip Special Tour at PHP 750 each, and the combined food and heritage tour at PHP 900 per person.

Teo also added how it “can help local communities by giving jobs to tricycle drivers. Nowhere in the world can you find tricycles except in the Philippines. So we’re going to promote this.”

Furthermore, the Malabon city Mayor, Antolin Oreta III, spearheaded the Malabon “Lugaw Xperience” for Teo and the media, highlighting their special chicken arroz caldo, the popular Pancit Malabon, and delicacies such as puto and kakanin.

In addition to this, Oreta emphasized how Malabon is an “all-in-one city” saying,

“We have historical sites, food, and culture. We are thankful the Secretary visited us in Malabon City, which we call all-in-one destination”.

So if you’re planning where to travel next, you might want to try taking a tricycle to take you to the hidden beautiful spots around Malabon!

What do you think, travel bugs? (Photos grabbed from Department of Tourism Facebook page)

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LOOK: Hundreds of houses in Benguet transformed into colorful mural

LOOK: Hundreds of houses in Benguet transformed into colorful mural

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BENGUET, Philippines. To promote a more sustainable tourism industry in La Trinidad, Benguet, hundreds of houses in Barangay Balili in Stone Hill in La Trinidad will be decorated with colorful murals.

According to Venus Tan, Tourism Regional Director for Cordillera, the area was chosen for the project because the mountain of houses, often deemed as an eyesore, is the first sight that greets tourists as they enter the place.

benguet-houses-mural
PHOTO CREDIT: ABS-CBN News

The project, under the REV-BLOOM campaign of Department of Tourism (DOT) Cordillera, was adapted from the Favela paintings in Brazil. Designed by Tam-awan Village artists, the project is considered the first in the country and will feature the sunflower as the main theme of the mural.

More than 18,000 square meters of houses will be painted. Several paint companies have promised to pitch in by providing the paint and other materials.

‘Yung apat na design pinagsama-sama namin. Pinili namin ‘yung maganda at pinakamadali. Pinili ng artists ‘yung sunflower kasi dati itong puno ng mga sunflower,”  said Jordan Mang-osan, one of the artists of the project.

(We put together four designs. We chose the most beautiful and the easiest. The artists picked the sunflower design because the place used to be filled with sunflowers.

A similar project is being eyed for Quirino Hill in Baguio City.

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PH Biggest Events to Watch for in 2015

PH Biggest Events to Watch for in 2015

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Biggest and brightest events are lined up to take off this 2015. In connection with this, the Department of Tourism declared 2015 as the “Visit the Philippines 2015”.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. clearly stated that the new campaign supports the tagline, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. They even launched a microsite where tourists can see the events never to be missed! Check it out here: http://visitph2015.com/

DOT’s attached agency, Tourism Promotion Board CEO Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III explained that the division would like to boost tourism industry in relation with the following areas: business, arts, lifestyles, culture, and adventure.

Make sure you don’t miss out to celebrate the grandest, biggest, and boomest occasions right before you!

JANUARY

Feast of the Black Nazarene– devotees walk barefoot in the procession through the streets. ι January 9, 2015

An Image of the Black Nazarene
An Image of the Black Nazarene

Papal Visit– Engage in once a lifetime opportunity to witness the first ever papal visit of Pope Francis in the country. ι January 15-19, 2015

Pope Francis Photo by: http://www.theguardian.com/
Pope Francis Photo by: http://www.theguardian.com/

Sinulog Festival– be astonished with the famous festival in Cebu and be entertained with live dances of many groups dressed in colorful costumes! ι January 18, 2015

Photo by: http://www.achilez.com/
Photo by: http://www.achilez.com/

Dinagyang Festival– Iloilo’s version of Ati-Atihan festival is widely celebrated and the much awaited event this year will highlight costumes of 30 major festivals in the country. ι January 25, 2015

Photo credit: lexmeeker89.files.wordpress.com
Photo credit: lexmeeker89.files.wordpress.com

FEBRUARY

Le Tour de Filipinas– if you’re a bycyclist enthusiast, this tournament is just so perfect for you! ι February 1-4, 2015

Bycyclists run over the race Photo by: http://ph.hola.com/
Bycyclists run over the race Photo by: http://ph.hola.com/

Philippine International Pyromusical Competition– see the sparkling and igniting most-awaited fireworks display in the sky. ι Feb. 7, 2015

Fireworks from China's Liuyang last March 8, 2014 (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Fireworks from China’s Liuyang last March 8, 2014 (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta– watch awe-inspiring colorful giant hot air balloons go up and up and away! ι February 12-15, 2015

Gigantic hot air balloons filled the vast land Photo by: http://www.pinaytraveljunkie.com/
Gigantic hot air balloons filled the vast land Photo by: http://www.pinaytraveljunkie.com/

Chinese New Year–  join the swirling dance and move like a fearless dragon as the Chinese celebrates it’s lunar year. ι  February 19, 2015

Photo by: weareaspire.com
Photo by: weareaspire.com

Panagbenga Festival– cheer up and be amazed with the beauty of flower decorated float parading on the streets. ι February 28, 2015

photo by:alvinabejero.lens.ph
photo by:alvinabejero.lens.ph

MARCH

International Artists Big Concerts– get serenated by international artists: Christina Perri, Ed Sheeran, and One Direction as they will rock the big concert venue with their fans sing heart out! ι March 5, 12, 21, 22, 2014

Left to right: One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Christina Perri Photo by: manilaconcertscene.blogspot.com media.tumblr.com manilaconcertscene.blogspot.com
Left to right: One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Christina Perri Photo by: manilaconcertscene.blogspot.com, media.tumblr.com, manilaconcertscene.blogspot.com

APRIL

Moriones Festival– watch the re-enactment of the  Longinus, a  blind Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus Christ  while he was on the cross.ι April 3, 2014

Photo credit: lakadpilipinas.com
Photo credit: lakadpilipinas.com

Madrid Fusion-grab a bite in an avantgarde blend of Spanish and Filipino cuisine that will fully satisfy your taste. ι April 23-25, 2015

Enjoy the taste of this mouth-watering hamburger Photo by: elowcost.com/
Enjoy the taste of this mouth-watering hamburger Photo by: elowcost.com/

Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge– challenge takers can try out combination of extreme activities like trekking, water tubbing, road running, and biking. ι April 25-26,2014

 Photo by: http://baldrunner.files.wordpress.com/
Photo by: http://baldrunner.files.wordpress.com/

MAY

Pahiyas Festival-appreciate colorful houses with “Kiping” all around the wall. ι  May 15,2014

House was adorned with vibrant dried leaves Photo by: th00.deviantart.ne
House was adorned with vibrant dried leaves Photo by: th00.deviantart.ne

JUNE

Pintados/Kasadyaan Festival – stare at awesome doodling arts painted on the body. Truly, Visayans regard art as a highest form of expression. ι June 29, 2015

100627PintadosW-2212

JULY

Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival– let alluring voices captivate your souls as they vie for a spot to be the best choir among the rest. ι July 22-25, 2015

Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival winners Photo by: fringemag.net
Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival winners Photo by: fringemag.net

AUGUST

Kadayawan Festival– Groove like performers in their annual celebration of good harvest! ι August 16, 2014.

Photo credit:sunstar.com.ph
Photo credit:sunstar.com.ph

Siargao International Surfing Cup– dance and groove like a jagger next to the big waves!

Photo by: siargaoislands.com
Photo by: siargaoislands.com

SEPTEMBER

Peñafrancia Viva La Virgen– take part in epic fluvial parade as part of celebrating the feast day of Peñafrancia. ι September 19,2015

Fluvial procession in celebration of Our Lady of Penafrancia Photo by: thedailyposh.net
Fluvial procession in celebration of Our Lady of Peñafrancia Photo by: thedailyposh.net

OCTOBER

Masskara Festival– fun filled celebration with people from all walks of life. Capture the beauty and giggling swing of dancers as they wear different amazing colorful masks with beautiful smiles. ι Oct. 18, 2014

A beautiful colorful mask     with unbroken smile. Photo by: c1.staticflickr.com
A beautiful colorful mask with unbroken smile. Photo by: c1.staticflickr.com

NOVEMBER

Pasungko S’g Misamis Occidental Festival– thanksgiving after a fruitful harvest will never be complete without street dance competition, tableau contest, and parade of the town’s charming ladies in Mutya ng Misamis Occidental. ι 1st week of November

Photo by: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-
Photo by: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/

Higantes Festival– Shake hands with higantes (Giants) which stand 10 feet tall and made from paper mache. ι November 22-23, 2015

Photo credit: freedomwall.net
Photo credit: freedomwall.net

DECEMBER

Giant Lantern Festival– See huge, wonderful, spectacular colorful lanterns as you pass by San Fernando, Pampanga. ι December 12, 2015

Giant Lanterns on the street. Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net
Giant Lanterns on the street. Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net

APEC Ministerial Meetings– Since Philippines will set to chair and host the summit, a group of CEOs, members of the press will arrive to discuss about ways of improving the growth of the economy.

26th APEC Ministerial meeting held at Beijing last November  7-8, 2014 Photo by: izakayapolitics.files.wordpress.com
26th APEC Ministerial meeting held at Beijing last November 7-8, 2014
Photo by: izakayapolitics.files.wordpress.com

Wait no more! Mark your calendars as your schedule will be filled in with these countless activities. Try out these different adventures. More Fun! Make 2015 Great!

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DOT Honors Await 2 Honest Janitors Who Returned P1M Found in Iloilo Airport

DOT Honors Await 2 Honest Janitors Who Returned P1M Found in Iloilo Airport

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Two honest janitors who work at the Iloilo airport will soon be recognized by the Department of Tourism for returning a bag holding nearly P1 million in cash.

Helen Catalbas, Department of Tourism Western Visayas head, told Bombo Radyo on Friday that she would nominate Rubilyn Dela Peña and Edgar Penit for the department’s Tourism Star Awards for their compelling honesty. Moreover, Catalbas stated that she will as well coordinate with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Iloilo Manager Percy Malonicio to give due acknowledgement to the two.

Accordingly, as the Bombo Radyo reported, the bag was left behind the airport’s pre-departure area and the dates were not specified when this bag did got lost and turned back to its righteous owner. As the story goes, the two workers showed honesty as they never hesitated to turn over the bag containing almost a staggering P1 million in dollars and dinars to their supervising officer.

The DOT’s Tourism Star Awards are given to tourism ‘heroes’ who help enrich the involvement of a tourist here in the Phjilippines.

Catalbas said the very deed that of Dela Peña and Penit served as a great “pogi point” for tourism in the region.

Source/s:

  1. Locsin J. DOT awards await 2 janitors who returned P1M found in Iloilo airport. (2014, May 9). Retrieved from http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/360347/news/regions/dot-awards-await-2-janitors-who-returned-p1m-found-in-iloilo-airport.

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