City Hall personnel scored for lavish travel expenses

By: Gerome Dalipe

THE current travel stipend for government personnel, regardless of rank and destination, is pegged at only P2, 200 per day.

The allowance covers expenses for accommodation, meals, and incidental expenses.

But some employees at the Iloilo City Hall claimed their reimbursement twice the required amount for their travel expenses last year.

One City Hall employee even claimed P5,000 per day for his hotel accommodation and meals of more than P2,000 daily.

The practice was discovered by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its annual report on the City Hall’s transactions in 2018.

“Non-economical spending during official travels denotes excessive and extravagant use of government funds to the disadvantage of the government,” read the COA report.

Last March 15, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 77, which prescribes rules and regulations and rates of expenses and allowances for official local and foreign travels of government personnel.

EO 77 provides official allowances for official, local and foreign travels of government personnel expenses of not more than P2, 200 daily.

Duterte’s newest executive order superseded EO 298, which mandates a P800 allowance regardless of rank and destination.

In 2016, the city mayor issued EO. N0 19-2016, increasing the travel allowance of city officials and personnel from P3, 000 to P5, 000 per day of travel outside the city.

But after reviewing the liquidation reports and reimbursement vouchers for travel of the city’s officials and employees, the auditors said expenses claimed for official travel far exceeded the amount prescribed by law.

“The disbursement vouchers and other supporting documents showed that claims for reimbursements of travel expenses were not certified as absolutely necessary in the performance of the assignment by the agency head,” the auditors said.

The auditors said the local travel expenses of only P2, 200 per day is way below the P5, 000 set by the City Government.

An annual observation memorandum was issued to the City Hall.

The auditors also directed the City Government to strictly comply with the rules and regulations and rates of allowances for claims of expenses for official travel to ensure economical and prudent use of government funds.