Duterte: No more 'junket' seminars for gov't employees

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Government employees take note: Rodrigo Duterte plans to get rid of the practice of holding “seminars” and sending employees or local government officials to “lakbay aral” (study trips).

During a press conference on Monday, May 16, the president-elect called these programs a waste of public funds. 

Yung mga seminar seminar, it costs a lot of money…it’s pure junket. So no more seminars that yung mga tao pupuntang Maynila. Rather, we will have the seminars in the local venue then let the lecturers come to Davao so maka-mura ako diyan,” he said.

(Those seminars cost a lot of money. It’s pure junket. So no more seminars where the people fly to Manila. Rather, we will have the seminars in the local venue then let the lecturers come to Davao so I can cut down on cost.)

The presidential-elect, who calls himself “just a government worker,” criticized officials and employees who use public funds to study abroad. 

Walang ginawa, gamitin ang pera ng barangay para pangmasyal,” he said. (They did nothing, only used up the barangay money to travel for leisure.)

When he heard of a barangay official who used funds to go to Hong Kong, Duterte said he “almost fell off his chair.”

Ano ka, magkain ka ng pancit doon? Wala na yan, stop that business,” he said. (What, you will just eat noodles there? None of that, stop that business.)

List of appointees for public comment

The complete list of possible appointees to positions in the Duterte administration will be made available for public comment soon. 

“All applicants for the bureaus and government corporations must agree that their names will be published. I’ll give my staff a limit until a certain – I don’t know when – but it must be near now, then to publish the names. Everyone, especially those who applied for GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations),” he told the media.

On Monday, Duterte revealed names of people he had chosen for key Cabinet posts, including executive secretary, transportation and communications secretary, and finance secretary. (LIST: Who's who in the incoming Duterte Cabinet) 

Spokesman Peter Laviña later told the media that the transition team plans to release the complete list “soon” in a website or page to be created for the purpose.

“The public will be free to comment on your qualification and any [allegations], pero kung wala naman at valedictorian ka (but if there’s none and you are a valedictorian), well of course,” said Duterte. 

He stressed that he wanted positions to go to the “best and the brightest” and warned applicants not to course their applications through politicians.

Huwag kayo maghingi ng endorsement sa senador, or from anybody, congressman or governor. Pagka may attached diyan automatically it will be rejected,” Duterte said. 

(Don’t ask for endorsements from senators or from anybody, congressman or governor. If your application is attached to them, it will automatically be rejected.)

Gov’t, private sector salaries

The president-elect said another way he would introduce reforms among government employees would be to give them more incentives.

It’s the large gap between government salaries and private sector salaries that keep the best qualified people from entering public service, he said. 

“For as long as the pay in government sector and private sector has this disparity, walang magtratrabaho sa gobyerno (no one will work for government),” he said. 

But because salaries are “controlled,” Duterte said he would just increase the “allowances” for government employees.

“I would offer them by way of allowances instead because salaries are controlled, so that I can bring in parity the pay of the private sector,” he said. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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