Compared to other Philippine presidents, President Rodrigo Duterte made the most number of foreign trips during his first year in office — and at the same time, brought home the most foreign investments, according to Malacañang.
Since assuming the presidency in June of last year, Duterte made 21 trips to 18 countries.
This is nearly three times the number of trips his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, made during the same time frame. Aquino’s travels totaled to eight, which was also the same number as former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, meanwhile, made the second most number of visits in her first year of presidency, totaling to 11—but it’s still less than half of Duterte’s.
Because of this, Duterte also has the highest foreign travel expenditures compared to his predecessors.
According to a Rappler report, Duterte’s travel expenses have amounted to about P386 million ($7.72 million) since assuming the presidency, with the exclusion of his recent trips to Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, and Russia.
Last year, Duterte traveled to Laos and Indonesia (P29 million), and Vietnam (P14 million) in September; Brunei and China (P45 million), and Japan (28 million) in October; Thailand and Malaysia (P24 million), and Peru and New Zealand (P87 million) in November; and Cambodia and Singapore (P50 million) in December.
This year, Duterte flew to Myanmar (P2 million) and Thailand (P29 million) in March; Saudi Arabia (P10 million), Bahrain (P5 million), and Qatar (P64 million) in April; and Cambodia, Hong Kong, China, and Russia in May.
Duterte’s trip to Russia was originally scheduled from May 22 to 26 but was cut short in the wake of a terrorist crisis that erupted on May 23 in Marawi City, Mindanao.
Malacañang, however, downplayed the “costly” foreign trips, underscoring how good returns surpass the expenses.
On Monday, June 26, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte’s foreign trips brought in at least $35 billion worth of investments into the country.
“We can see in terms of cost-benefit analysis that, as the Department of Finance said, for every peso spent, [the] government was able to bring home P1,000,” Andanar said.
He noted that Duterte was able to bring in $24 billion-worth of investments from China, $11 billion from Japan, and $1.9 billion from Qatar.
“So, the reports coming out in newspapers that the president is the most traveled president in his first year here in the Philippines are true,” Andanar said.
He added, “But it is also true that as the president who is the most traveled during his first year, he is also the one who got the most investments from other countries. That is also true.”
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