Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to update the rates of the daily travel allowance and the representation and transportation allowance (RATA) of local government officials, to boost domestic tourism as face-to-face engagements resume.
Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, pointed out the prevailing RATA has been overtaken by inflation and was last updated in January 2013.
“From 2013 to 2022, the value of each peso has eroded to 74 centavos.
It also no longer makes sense given that LGUs have increased local revenues from P107.98 billion to P256.21 billion last year. That’s a 137 percent growth rate. Around the same period, national government revenues only grew by 75 percent. So, they’re actually doing a better job at improving revenue collection,” Salceda noted.
“They also have more resources as a result of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling. So, all in all, they are better placed to help the domestic tourism sector. They also deserve the increase given their improved efforts in generating local revenues,” he added.
Given inflation during the period, Salceda said the RATA for LGUs should increase by at least 35 percent. “The increase should be sourced from LGU revenues, so that it does not affect our limited NG fiscal space. But it should be done.”
Salceda suggested a review of the rates of the per diems allowed for travel of local officials.
He reminded the DBM that “EO 77 series of 2019 prescribed the rates of expenses and allowances for travel.
The same EO mandates a periodic review every three years based on a survey of lodging costs conducted by the DOT, and other economic indicators prescribed by the Philippine Statistics Authority.”
Depending on the cluster, the maximum daily travel expense (DTE) for local officials is P1,500 to P1,800.
“From 2019 to 2022, the value of each peso has eroded to 89 centavos. Proportionately, the DTE should now be adjusted to P1,688 to P2,026.”
Salceda hoped that the increase will boost domestic tourism, which suffered “scarring effects” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The increase in rates will help boost our meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions or MICE scene, which suffered structural losses due to the pandemic,” Salceda said.