Palace issues guidelines for gov’t officials’ trips abroad
Malacañang released on Wednesday the guidelines on foreign travels of all government officials and personnel in the executive department following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements against junkets abroad.
In a memorandum, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that 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.
“To ensure compliance with the pronouncements of the President against extravagant and lavish travels abroad of government officials and personnel, all concerned officials and personnel, all concerned officials issuing travel authorities under existing issuances are directed to strictly observe the following measures on foreign travels,” Medialdea said in the directive.
The order also directs officials to obtain travel authorization from his or her agency, including his/her personal travels, even if at no cost to the government.
The memo instructs agency heads in-charge of approving travels abroad to submit quarterly a list to the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Interior and Local Government of all travel authorities they have issued.
The heads should indicate in the report the name of the official or the employee, destination, duration of the trip, nature and purpose of travel, total cost of travel for official trips, and a brief description how the trip complies with the criteria set by the order.
Failure to comply with the order may result in the filing of administrative actions for misconduct, insubordination, and other related offenses under the Civil Service Commission Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service and/or relevant laws and regulations against the travelling official or personnel, as well as the official who approved or failed to submit the list, Medialdea said.
Duterte has sacked several government officials for their numerous trips abroad, including Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chief Terry Ridon, Dangerous Drugs Board head Dionisio Santiago, and Development Academy of the Philippines President Elba Cruz. /je