THE OFFICE of the President’s (OP) traveling expenses increased by tenfold in 2022, the Commission on Audit (CoA) revealed in its audit report released last Tuesday.  

State auditors said the OP spent P403.09 million for traveling expenses in 2022, from only P36.79 million in 2021, increasing by over P366 million.  

“[The] significant increase… is due to the official travels related to the foreign summits and state visits in Singapore, Indonesia, United States, Cambodia, Thailand, and Belgium,” the CoA said.   

Local travels, though, decreased by 6.26% to P10.78 million in 2022 from P11.54 million in 2021.  

In a statement, Presidential Communications Office chief Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said travel expenses in 2021 were expected to be lower due to pandemic restrictions.   

Last December, the Marcos administration justified that the President’s foreign trips has earned the country $23.6 billion in investment pledges. 

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual previously said that around $88 million (around P4.83 billion) worth of investment pledges are expected to materialize this year. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz