Duterte bars junkets among state officials, staff
President Rodrigo Duterte has prohibited junkets among government officials.
This was contained in Executive Order No. 77, prescribing rules and regulations and rates of expenses and allowances for official local and foreign travels of government personnel, which Duterte signed on March 15.
"All forms of travel junkets shall be strictly prohibited. The conduct of strategic planning workshops or team building activities abroad shall not be allowed. The taking of the personal leave immediately before or after the official activity is highly discouraged," the EO read.
It further said official foreign trips partially or fully sponsored or funded by private corporations or individuals "shall be fully disclosed."
"No official or personal travel of government officials and employees shall be funded directly or indirectly, fully or partially, by private individuals, including suppliers or contractors, with pending request/s or application/s or future dealings with any branch, department, bureau or office of the National Government or local government units concerned," it said.
"This prohibition applies to invitations to travel purportedly to undertake study or assessment of the proponents' capabilities as such as contractors or suppliers," the EO added.
Spouses or children of government officials, except when diplomatic protocol or established international practices provide otherwise would not be issued foreign travel authorities and not be entitled to government funding, it said.
The only official local or foreign travels and assignments that would be authorized are those essential to the effective performance of an official or employee's mandates or functions; and those required to meet the needs of the department, agency, bureau or office, or there is substantial benefit to be derived by the state.
The other criteria for the authorized official travel are the following: the presence of the official or employee is critical to the outcome of the meeting, conference, seminar, consultation or any official activity; and the projected expenses are not excessive or involve minimum expenditure.
The EO also provides the authorities who could give approval to local or foreign travels and the expenses and allowance, such as for transportation and miscellaneous, daily travel, accommodation, pre-departure and return fees, clothing, daily subsistence, representation, and insurance.
There is a periodic review of local travel rates every three years.
There are also reportorial requirements for those who would travel abroad and anyone who would fail to comply would be subject to disciplinary action.
The order covers official local and foreign travels of personnel of national government agencies, including state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions, Congress, judiciary, constitutional commission, Office of the Ombudsman, and LGUs.
The order takes effect immediately. Celerina Monte/DMS