‘Travel more than 12 times, face dismissal’
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte, who says he is on a purging spree, warned government officials of dismissal from service if they go on foreign trips more than 12 times.
He did not specify if the frequency is on a per-year basis or reckoned from the time they were appointed to their posts.
“They go out on every convocation, convention, powwow, seminar…it is that often. And for those who have traveled more than 12, you have to go,” the President declared.
Amid calls for him to look at his own backyard in the campaign against jet-setting government officials, Duterte said he is not impressed with those who go abroad, even if the trips are done in their official capacities.
“I just don’t have the respect for officers who often go on foreign trips,” Duterte said in Filipino, adding that many of these officials are using the climate change forums as an excuse to travel.
But he is giving some leeway for military and police officers who are on scholarships abroad, who travel to be trained.
Duterte criticized government officials who have been using their posts to travel abroad, equating these with corrupt activities.
“Corruption is really prevalent, and I’m starting it with those guys who have been wasting money, going in and out of the country as if they owned the money and for nothing,” the President said.
Earlier, he fired several officials for lavish travels abroad, including former anti-poverty commissioner Terry Ridon and Maritime Industry Authority administrator Marcial Amaro III. He also dismissed former Dangerous Drugs Board chief Dionisio Santiago for alleged corruption and excessive travels abroad.
Former Development Academy of the Philippines president Elba Cruz was also asked to leave her post due to excessive travels.
“There will be no stopping in the campaign against drugs and corruption,” Duterte stressed, saying over the weekend that the anti-corruption drive of his administration and against those who use taxpayers’ money would not stop.
“I am now the President. I will insist on corruption. It has to stop…I will fight the drug problem to the last day of my term. It will not stop,” Duterte said during the birthday celebration of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in Tagum City last Friday.
He admitted that he might have miscalculated the drug problem when he said he would solve it within six months upon his assumption of office.
“I was wrong when I said that I could stop it but at that time, I was uttering the words when I was only mayor of Davao City,” Duterte added.