No travel ban for Locsin
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said President Duterte’s directive to Cabinet officials against travel to the United States does not cover Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., to allow diplomatic relations to continue. The Department of Foreign Affairs official left for the United States over the weekend.
Panelo also noted that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s recent visit to the United States was a study tour sponsored by the US state department itself.
“Maybe the members of the [Duterte] family will do likewise in deference to the father,” the Palace official said.
Otherwise, he added, the President’s travel ban on Cabinet officials covers even their personal and family trips.
Foreign Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez confirmed Panelo’s statement on Locsin’s trip: “I believe it has been clarified that SFA [Secretary of Foreign Affairs] is exempted from the ban,” he said.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the directive against US trips applied only to Cabinet secretaries, since subordinate officials would still be allowed to attend “important official” meetings in the United States.
The President’s travel directive came following his call to terminate the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, after it revoked Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s entry visa last week.
The travel ban, warned Sen. Panfilo Lacson in a text message, “could have adverse consequences on our country’s economy and security, not to mention the many employed Filipino immigrants there, especially if the US retaliates [after] the recent tirades of President Duterte.”
“Considering all these, I hope some of the Cabinet members will have the courage and sensibility to speak to the President to reconsider,” Lacson added. —WITH REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA, JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE AND DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN
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