No more junkets abroad.
President Duterte on Thursday said he was disallowing foreign travel for members of the executive branch, except for Filipino diplomats, starting Jan. 1.
The President also said he would order a review of the travel records of the executive branch and those found to have traveled abroad every month should leave government service.
“There will be no travel … let’s go on a starvation diet on that,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.
Mr. Duterte said he did not want government officials absent from their posts and unavailable to serve the public.
“They’re abroad. Look at their record—seven, eight, nine times going abroad using the money of the people for a flimsy reason to go there,” he said.
In November, Duterte announced he was firing several government officials for frequent travels abroad.
He later sacked the commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, including Melissa Aradanas, a cousin of his partner, Honeylet Avanceña.
“I also fired her but I told my wife, ‘You call your cousin and say they should leave,” Duterte said, referring to the other commissioners, Joan Lagunda, Noe Indonto and Manuel Serra Jr.
He also fired Urban Poor Commission head Teddy Ridon for allegedly taking “seven to eight foreign trips” since being appointed last year.
Recently, Duterte also fired Development Academy of the Philippines president Elba Cruz, who reportedly traveled abroad once every month during the past three months.
The President said he even turned down an invitation to go to India to attend an international gathering but the Department of Foreign Affairs was still urging him to go.
“I am not sure but I have to attend every … whatever it is heads of state but if you say I’m enjoying this, I’m too old for that. So, let us be very clear on this,” he said.
The President, who is 72, said he easily got dizzy and that he had some “spinal trouble” that kept him from enjoying travelling overseas.
“After so many accidents on the motorcycle, I easily get dizzy. Sometimes, I puke. Add the spinal trouble that I have,” Mr. Duterte said.
“I hate to travel but I have to represent … this is India. I begged off but it turns out we are the only (country) that has no representative so the Department of Foreign Affairs is urging me to go there,” he said.
“India is also a big market … a lot of people there. It’s trying to catch up with China in terms of population,” he said.