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DFA to cancel foreign travels to save on funds

In the hopes of saving funds to support the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is canceling trips overseas this year.

“Thanks Harry, but no need. I am cutting off foreign travels. There are tons of money there. No more conference trips. There’s Zoom,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. wrote on Twitter.

The DFA Secretary said the government badly needs funds for the vaccination program.

“Will get [Budget Secretary Wendel] Avisado to help me realign. I stopped [building] renovation and capital expenses. Government needs every peso for vaccination.”

Locin took to Twitter in response to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman that Locsin could find funds for the agency.

“We trust that Secretary Locsin can find the funds and I will bring this matter up also to Secretary Avisado,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

It was last Wednesday when Locsin bared that the agency owed government printing agency APO Production Unit P388 million for the printing of passports.

“Our entire passport revolving fund is gone; and we are in arrears to APO P388M for printing passport booklets,” he had said.

Locsin said the fund was “eaten up by travel allowances, insurance and miscellany.”

The DFA gets its passport revolving fund from fees collected for the processing and issuance of passports requiring special consideration.

DFA utilizes the fun for the improvement of its passport and consular services and other services, except travel and transportation allowances and expenses. (CC)

Staff Report

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