Last March 15, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 77 or “PRESCRIBING RULES AND REGULATIONS AND RATES OF EXPENSES AND ALLOWANCES FOR OFFICIAL LOCAL AND FOREIGN TRAVELS OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL”. This was uploaded on the official website later on March 21.
EO 77 shall cover official local and foreign travels of personnel of National Government Agencies (NGAs), including State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Government Financial Institutions (GFIs), Congress of the Philippines, Judiciary, Constitutional Commissions, Office of the Ombudsman, and Local Government Units (LGUs).
EO No. 77 was issued to proscribe government officials and staff to go on local or overseas seminars and junkets, as the president sees them as a waste of public funds. Section 19 of the EO reads, “All forms of travel junkets shall be strictly prohibited. The conduct of strategic planning workshops or team building activities abroad shall not be allowed”. This also covers trips sponsored by suppliers or contractors linked to a government agency, which can be found under Section 20.
The heads of NGAs, Chairs of Governing Boards, as well as the heads of SUCs, GOCCs, and GFIs, as well as Regional Governors of Autonomous Regions, Provincial Governors, and Mayors of Special, Highly Urbanized and Independent Component Cities, do not need to be approved for local travels by higher authorities.
Local trips beyond a 50-kilometer (km) radius will include not only transportation and miscellaneous expenses, but also daily travel expenses with a limit of not more than 2,200PHP depending on the region. On the other hand, trips within 50-km will be allowed the approved transportation expenses provided that the employee provides proof of their stay in the assigned location and does not travel back and forth from the assigned place to their respective place of residence or permanent official station.
For overseas trips, Department Secretaries or those of equal rank; Chairs and Members of Governing Boards, Executive Officers of GOCCs and GFIs; and Heads of NGAs will have to be allowed by the Office of the President. Approval for foreign travels of other government officials and personnel may be found under Section 10.
The EO also dictates only selected officials such as Department Secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries will be permitted to go on business-class via air travel and it is only for long-haul flights lasting for over four (4) hours, not including lay-overs. Even then, the Office of the President will still have to approve each travel. All officials and employees are expected to take economy class, excluding premium economy class, for flights less than 4 hours.
The EO gives specified amounts for allowances for representation expenses, clothing, and daily necessities as well, which can be location from Sections 11 to 14. The budget will depend on how long a trip will last, with the budget higher for travel spent in temperate countries experiencing autumn or winter at the time.
By: Mineral Economics, Information and Publication Division