House urges Duterte to increase gov't local travel allowance to P2,000

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order (EO) to increase the daily local travel allowance of government staff on official business to P2,000.

House Resolution No. 243, authored by ABS Representative Eugene de Vera, seeks to amend EO 248, 248-A, and 298 to increase the allowance from the present rate of P800.

De Vera said in his resolution that allowances should be adjusted to follow the value of Philippine peso.

"The amount for travel expenses specified in EO 298 was based upon the prevailing market prices during the time it was crafted, and thus does not truly reflect the current fiscal situation of the country," he said.

EO 298, issued in 2004, was the latest amendment of EO 248 and 248-A.

"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," De Vera added.

The lawmaker said that travel allowance should be increased from P800 to P2,000 a day with a breakdown of P1,000 for accommodation, P600 for meals, and P400 for incidental expenses.

"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.

EO 298 mandates a P800 allowance regardless of rank and destination. Under the EO, 50% of the allowance or P400 should go to lodging, 30% or P240 for meals, and 20% or P160 for incidental expenses. (READ: Duterte's foreign trips cost thrice more than predecessors')

The EO also states particularly that the P800 allowance can be used in full if the arrival to the destination is not later than 12 noon. If the staff arrived after 12 noon, only 80% of the P800 or P640 can be used.

Meanwhile, an allowance of P80 can be used for breakfast if a staff left before 12 noon and a total of P160 for breakfast and lunch can be spent if the departure was after 12 noon.–

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.