PRRD taking commercial flights ‘new norm’: Palace

MANILA President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to take commercial flights would be the new norm for presidential travels, MalacaAang said Tuesday.

It is intended to save taxpayers' money, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Seoul, South Korea.

Duterte left the country last Sunday aboard a Philippine Airlines flight for his three-day official visit to South Korea at the invitation of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The President is expected to take another commercial flight when he returns Tuesday evening from his visit to Seoul.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte's first trip to South Korea has yielded USD4.9-billion worth of investments, including a USD1-billion loan agreement with an interest of only 0.15 percent and payable in 40 years with a grace period of 10 years.

The USD1-billion Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) from South Korea will be used to finance major infrastructure projects in the next four years.

When he attended the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore, Duterte took an eight-seater private plane instead of a chartered flight to save money.

Roque had said it would be expensive for the government to charter an airplane and a leaner delegation would mean lesser cost for the government.

Meanwhile, he confirmed that Duterte has fired acting Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Celestina Ma. Jude de La Serna for excessive travels.

Dela Serna was replaced by fellow PhilHealth board member Roy Ferrer, a native of Davao. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency