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DENR says Yulo-Loyzaga's foreign trips cost only P3 million

MANILA, Philippines — The foreign trips of Environment chief Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga cost only P3 million, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources clarified after a senator questioned the foreign trips and travel expenses of the agency’s officials. 

During the plenary deliberations on the DENR’s proposed P25.38 billion budget in November, Sen. Raffy Tulfo called Yulo-Loyzaga a “jetsetter” after embarking on 13 to 14 foreign trips this year. 

He also questioned the large budgets allocated for overseas travels: P1.1 billion in 2023 and P1.173 billion in 2024. 

In a statement released last week, Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR undersecretary for finance, said that the agency allocated P1.107 billion this year covering all local and foreign trips of various offices under the department. 

These include DENR’s central office, four staff bureaus, 16 regional offices, 76 provincial environment and natural resources offices, and 146 community environment and natural resources offices. 

Rebuelta-Teh added that the total travel expenditure of the central office was P45.169 million as of November 23, of which P3.048 million were spent for “official missions of the secretary.” 

“This is 0.002% of the total travel budget as per the approved General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2023,” the DENR official said. 

Yulo-Loyzaga is currently in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as the head of the Philippine delegation to the COP28 climate talks. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. opted out of the climate negotiations to focus on a hostage situation in the Red Sea involving 17 Filipino seafarers. 

The Philippine delegation is participating in seven negotiating work streams, covering topics such as loss and damage, climate finance, adaptation, mitigation, just energy transition, global stocktake, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction and avoidance.

Yulo-Loyzaga led the launch of the country’s first-ever pavilion at the major United Nations conference last Friday. 

The Philippine Pavilion showcases the government’s climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Side events, including panel discussions and lectures, are also held at the pavilion.

However, some environment and