Lawmakers have welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's order on Thursday barring officials in the executive branch from taking trips abroad and for government agencies to take an active role in tracking down public officials who had taken unnecessary travels.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said the President has shown what a good governance is about by setting an example to all officials and employees of government.
“The President has started to live by example,” Albano, majority leader for the House contingent to Commission on Appointments, said. “If there is no reason to travel, why travel?”
Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting echoed Albano’s view.
Tambunting said the President's executive order barring officials under the executive branch to take unnecessary travels effective Jan. 1, 2018, except the Department of Foreign Affairs must be respected.
“I respect the decision of the President. In general, the Executive Department serves at the pleasure of the President and is under his control. If the President feels this is necessary to improve the service of the Executive Branch, that is his prerogative. He [President Duterte] can decide how to spend the funds of the executive department,” Tambunting, chair of the House committee on games and amusements, said.
Magdalo.party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said the President's order must be extended to all branches of government.
“I agree and support that policy. Only necessary official travels for all government officials not only for the executive branch but for all branches of government,” Alejano, an opposition, said.
Nevertheless, he said “government officials should still have the option to travel abroad as long as it is not during office days and not using government funds.”
For his part, Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said the order was unnecessary as “all travels of the executive branch are approved by the Office of the President or through Cabinet officials who are the President’s alter egos.”
“After much traveling by Malacañang officials in 2017, now they want a travel ban in 2018. It is up to Malacañang to decide which travels are deem necessary,” Villarin, from the opposition, said.
President Duterte earlier said he would also ask agencies to find out which officials had gone on excessive trips abroad.
He said the order was intended so as to be “strict in terms of money” to ensure that public money do not go to waste.
The President earlier sacked several government officials for supposedly taking unnecessary trips abroad, such as Dangerous Drugs Board chief Dionisio Santiago and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chief Terry Ridon.