By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte asked government officials sacked and who will be sacked due to unnecessary or excessive foreign trips to understand that he is only trying to fulfill his campaign promise to end corruption in government.
Duterte, in his speech during the birthday celebration of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, reiterated his resolve to fulfill his campaign promises within the one term given to him.
“It’s part of the campaign against corruption. Not only done with malice but those who just want to spend money of government for nothing,” he said during the close-in event in Davao del Norte late last night.
“‘Wag ho kayong magalit sa akin (Please do not get mad at me) because these are the promises that I [made],” he added.
However, Duterte said he is keen on cleansing the government officials who waste people’s money by going in and out of the country more than they should have.
“Kasi corruption talaga nandiyan (Corruption really is there) and I’m starting it with those guys who have been wasting money, going in and out of the country as if they owned the money and for nothing,” he said.
“They go out every convocation, convention, powwow, seminar, labas ng labas (they keep on going out of the country). And for those who have traveled more than 12, you have to go,” he added.
However, Duterte said he is not totally banning government officials from going overseas but they would have to follow the memorandum order issued by the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) last week.
“Local government will enforce it. You have to — be sure to give me well ahead in time, your itinerary and give me a synopsis or — just a short memo of what you intend to do and what is it all about,” Duterte said.
Last week, Duterte ordered the OES to issue a memorandum order prohibiting all government officials under the executive branch to make foreign trips, except when they travel at their own expense, and if the country will greatly benefit from the said foreign trips.
Before 2017 ended, Duterte has emphasized his disapproval for excessive and unnecessary foreign trips, citing that this is wasting taxpayers’ money and it slows down the function of the government.
Weeks before the year 2017 ended, Duterte fired all commissioners of the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP), including its chairperson Terry Ridon, due to “unnecessary junkets.”
This year, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Marcial Amaro was the first to be booted off the executive branch for his ‘excessive’ foreign trips over the past two years.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan is also facing the issue of making unauthorized foreign trips as raised by PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles.
Malacañang said they may look into Nograles’ allegations against Licuanan if there is a formal complaint made before the Presidential Management Staff .