Marcos' travel expenses should be cut instead of DTI programs - solon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — The Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) 2024 allocations for some of its programs were slashed, and a lawmaker said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s travel expenses should have been cut instead.

During the House Committee on Appropriations' discussion on DTI's 2024 budget on Thursday, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said DTI's programs are more vital than Marcos' travel.

Lawmakers learned that the Industry Development Program and the Consumer Education Advocacy Program's allotment were trimmed as these have low obligation rates due to the delayed release of budget.

"Mas malaki pa nga 'yung confidential funds and travel expenses ng pangulo kaysa sa programa na 'to na siyang – sa tingin po natin, sorry – titiyak na lilikha ng trabaho," Brosas said.

"'Di sana binawasan na lang natin travel expenses ng pangulo, nilagay natin dito kasi kailangang-kailangan pala natin ng budget dito, kailangang-kailangan natin matulungan 'yung mga MSMEs natin. Bakit ganu'n 'yung – nagmi-misprioritize tayo ng mga budget?" she added.

[Translation: The amount for confidential funds and travel expenses of the president are bigger than these programs that we believe will definitely create jobs. Maybe we should trim the president's travel expenses, and instead put the funds into helping MSMEs. Why is there a misprioritization of the budget?]

DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual stressed that the Philippines was able to generate investment leads worth $71 billion following Marcos' trips abroad.

For the country to move forward, the trade chief said additional efforts should be exerted in other aspects.

"I think our country, in order to progress, needs more effort in other important areas like developing new industries and creative industries or working in the upscaling of our MSMEs, helping micro to become small, small to become medium, and medium to become large," he said.