ALBAY 2ND DISTRICT Rep. Joey S. Salceda has called out Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. for banning his department’s officials from attending climate change conferences “requiring air travel” and pulling out financial support for other offices.

“Can I remind you that section 9 of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) [Act]… The provisions and functions of the CCC? So you cannot do away with it. You’re violating the law,” Mr. Salceda, chair of the House special committee on climate change, said in a briefing Tuesday at the Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Section 9 (K) of Republic Act 9729 provides that the CCC shall coordinate with DFA in representing the country in climate change negotiations abroad.

“How do you interpret that provision of the law which should be superior to any of your statements,” said Mr. Salceda.

Mr. Locsin announced the travel ban in a June 10 DFA statement following President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s criticism of climate change efforts in the international community.

In the statement, he said other agencies and offices could send their representative provided that the travel budget will come from funding sources other than the DFA.

“This is incompatible with the legal obligations under the Philippine law,” said Mr. Salceda, citing the General Appropriations Act of 2019 mandating DFA to “extend the necessary, technical, legal, and logistical support to the Climate Change Commission on the participation of the Philippine delegation in the climate negotiation processes…”

“Your budget was given to you because you are compelled to support this negotiation. There’s no ifs and buts,” said Mr. Salceda.

In response, Mr. Locsin said in a tweet: “To Joey Salceda, my House mentor: Please. I’m not stopping anybody outside DFA from traveling to TALK rather than ACT on Climate Change. DFA is committed to vote YES to the most radical proposals but not again to keep traveling to talk about it ad nauseam.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras