The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) approved House Resolution 243 urging President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order increasing the daily local travel allowance of government officials and personnel on official business to P2,000 since the present rate of P800 is no longer attuned to the times.
Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera (Party-list, ABS), author of HR 243, said the proposed executive order would amend EO 248 dated May 29, 1995, EO 248-A dated Aug. 14, 1995 and EO 298 dated March 23, 2004 which prescribed the allocation of P800 per day for the travel expenses of government officials and personnel, regardless of rank and destination.
“The last adjustment was made in 2004, it has been 13 years since then. We all know that prices have increased. By having this resolution, probably the President will listen to us in order that our poor government employees assigned officially to different destinations within the country would have enough money to use in their respective assignments,” said De Vera.
De Vera, a Deputy Minority Leader, said that government personnel find it difficult when they are assigned to different places for official business because of their insufficient travel allowance. “Wala silang pera para dun, ang mahal na ng lodging, pagkain P240 ang allowance, bale P80 per meal. And then P400 for accommodation, wala na pong ganun. I think P2,000 is fair enough although maliit pa rin, tapos pag nadagdagan yan mas maganda,” said De Vera.
“It is the responsibility of the government to provide travel allowances to its employees in fulfillment of their official duties and responsibilities. There is a need to enable a proper representation by giving sufficient allowances that are commensurate to the duties and responsibilities and to the nature of the travel,” said De Vera.
“Prices since 2004 have changed, and the real value of the amount of travel expenses worth P800, 13 years ago, is not the same as it is today. Hence, there is a need to restructure the system of allocating allowances by implementing a periodic increase, following the recent adjustments in the value of the Philippine peso. Hence travel allowance should be increased from P800 a day to P2,000 a day,” said De Vera.
De Vera said the breakdown of the P2,000 daily travel allowance shall be: hotel/lodging, P1,000; meals, P600; and incidental expenses, P400.
A representative of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the DBM recognized the intention of said resolution to adjust travel allowance rates for authorized local travels of government officials and employees. However, the DBM representative said there is a Travel Rates Committee organized under EO 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 which is mandated to review travel rates and recommend thereafter to the President for consideration. It is headed by the DBM Secretary and the members are the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Commission on Audit (COA).
The DBM is currently studying, in coordination with agencies concerned, the possible adjustments on existing allowances and expenses for local and foreign travels of government personnel, according to the DBM representative.
Nograles said the good news is that the DBM is amenable to increasing the daily travel expense of government officials and personnel on official business.
Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City) said everyone realizes the importance of HR 243, hence he moved for its approval.
Rep. Rene Relampagos (1st District, Bohol) said he was happy for the action taken by the committee on the resolution. He proposed that the issue on travel expenses increase be discussed in the bicameral conference committee of the national budget for possible inclusion under the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).