Wasting public funds in time of hunger.
While ordinary folks like us are adopting cost-saving measures in order to cope up with the rising cost of basic commodities, the members of the official family of the president had an extravagant trip to the United Kingdom (UK) on September 24-26.
The executive branch through the infamous presidential mouthpiece Harry Roque defended these public officials by using the pathetic excuse that several members of the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte went there for the purpose of “marketing” the country.
“I think that their presence was very well-justified, especially the economic managers because they are marketing the Philippines,” Roque said.
The economic managers being referred to are Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ernesto Pernia and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The other members of the Cabinet who joined the trip were Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat.
Taguig City Representative Pia Cayetano was also part of the delegation but it is not clear why she was included in the trip.
The highlight of the UK visit was supposedly the Philippine Economic Briefing where Philippine officials tried to encourage representatives and officials of British companies to invest here in the country.
But days after the trip, those who joined the delegation and participated the so-called briefing have kept mum on the result of their official business raising fears that the UK excursion is just another junket by public officials at the expense of the Filipino taxpayers.
Even the talkative Roque has remained quiet about the foreign trip. If the same was successful or productive, Malacanan would have boasted this as a gain for the administration or to get pogi points for the president.
Moreover, the economic managers would have submitted a report on British corporations or entities that have committed to invest here in the Philippines or those who have shown interest in expanding their business and putting up a branch or satellite office in the country.
Obviously, the UK visit was a futile endeavor by insensitive public officials who shamelessly used money from the public coffers to sponsor their junket while the rest of the Filipinos are trying to endure the brunt of the worsening inflation and the weakening of the peso.
Netizens found out about the junket when photos of the Cabinet officials dining at the first Jollibee branch in London began circulating in the internet.
Some of the photos were shared by Jollibee itself whose London branch will officially open this coming October 20.
Social media influencer Ivy Lisa F. Mendoza sarcastically wrote in Facebook that it is nice to wake up to news about the inflation, the devaluing of the peso, the bloodbath in the stock market, the rice crisis and other news about how bad the Philippine economy is while the Duterte officials are having fun with their chicken joy in UK.
“Several Cabinet Secretaries — including the brilliant economic managers — are having a jolly, good time eating chickenjoy without rice at the opening of Jollibee,” Mendoza quipped
“Ang saya saya nila habang #endo pa din sa Jollibee dito. Such is the Filipino life,” she continued.