Duterte bans junkets abroad for gov’t officials in new EO
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has released an executive order banning government officials and employees from going on junkets and team-building activities abroad.
The President signed Executive Order No. 77 on March 15 but it was only released to media on Friday.
“All forms of travel junkets shall be strictly prohibited. The conduct of strategic planning workshops or team building activities abroad shall not be allowed,” Section 19 of the EO stated.
“The taking of a personal leave immediately before or after the official activity is highly discouraged,” the EO added.
“If travel circumstances, such as the nature of activity, purpose and itinerary, indicate that the trip is mainly intended for personal purposes,” the EO stated that “no part thereof shall be considered official.”
The President under the EO also required his Cabinet secretaries, chairpersons and board members of Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), and heads of national government agencies to get his approval for their official foreign trips.
In January 2018, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum, saying official foreign travel should only be allowed if the trip is “strictly within the mandate” of the official; projected trip expenses “are not expensive,” and the travel is “expected to bring substantial benefit” to the country.
The EO has formalized the guidelines and added more specific rules.
Under EO 77, the President said only certain officials are allowed to take business class for air travel and are allowed only for long-haul flights.
The EO defined a long-haul flight as a travel lasting more than four hours, excluding the time spent in lay-overs.
Only allowed to take business class flights are department secretaries, undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries.
These officials, however, still need the approval of the Office of the President (OP).
All government employees taking long-haul flights will have to take the economy class.
For flights less than four hours, all government employees, including Cabinet secretaries, will have to take economy class, which “does not include premium economy class.”
The EO also ordered government officials to fully disclose official foreign trips that are “partially of fully sponsored or funded by private corporations or private individuals.”
The EO also stated that no official or personal travel of government officials and employees should be funded “directly or indirectly, fully or partially,” by private individuals, including suppliers or contractors, with pending requests or applications or future dealing with any branch, department, bureau, or office of the national government. /muf