Palace confident Locsin can replenish depleted passport production fund

Published January 21, 2021, 7:48 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang is confident that Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. could find a way to replenish the Department of Foreign Affairs’ funds for passport issuance.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We trust that Secretary Locsin can find the funds,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing when asked to comment about the reported depleted passport fund.

“I will bring this matter up also to (Budget) Secretary (Wendel) Avisado,” he added. 

Locsin earlier bared on Twitter that the passport revolving fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is “gone.” The department supposedly owes APO Production Unit, a state corporation, around P388 million for the printing of passport booklets.

The passport fund, Locsin claimed, was “eaten up” by travel allowances, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses. “So bear with us until I find money to replenish the fund,” Locsin said.

Reacting to Roque’s latest pronouncement, Locsin tweeted Thursday that he would scrap foreign travels to save funds. 

“Thanks Harry but no need. I am cutting off foreign travels. There’s tons of money there. No more conference trips. There’s Zoom. Will get Avisado to help me realign,” he said.

“I stopped bldg renovation and capital expenses. Government needs every peso for vaccination,” he added.