For excessive international travels Three cabinet secretaries, 16 undersecretaries axed

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he has fired three cabinet secretaries and 16 undersecretaries so far.

In his speech during the Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands Conference 2018 on Wednesday at Marco Polo Davao, the President said the officials were fired on the grounds of excessive international travels for climate change forums.

The president, however, did not name the officials.

Duterte said the government can’t afford the expenses incurred during the travels of the officials.

“Every department sends somebody who doesn’t even know the definition of the climate,” Duterte said.

Duterte has set a limit to the country’s representation to climate change conferences to only one, lamenting that en masse travels abroad did nothing good for the country but drain government coffers.

“Once and for all we decide… insist one representative from Climate Change Commission, not allow everybody… we need only one mouth. We are not as rich as France. We can afford only to send one and maybe if it is to my liking, join her,” Duterte told participants.

“So much travel on climate change – in Africa they were there… New Zealand they were there… and they were there en masse… in Tokyo,” he said.

Duterte said he saw the list of some 11 climate change-related travels all over the world “but nothing has been done to my country except expenses.”

The President admitted it pained him to see them go because most of them were his friends and supported him during the election campaign.

“It pains me deeply to see them go,” he said.
Despite limiting the number of Philippine representatives to climate change conferences or meetings, the President remains committed to supporting all endeavors to make the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world “a much happier place to live in”.

Climate Change Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman, in a press conference, said they are looking for ways to screen the international travels of officials relating to climate change.

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