READ: Senators react on Duterte's foreign trips: Outcome is more important than expenses

Three senators from the administration side said it is more important to look at the outcomes of President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign trips rather than pointing out the expenses he incurs.

Image from Rappler

Senators Win Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Edgardo Angara said this on Monday when asked for comment on Duterte's expenditures for his foreign trips during his 1st year in office.

A total amopunt of P386.6million or $7.72 million was itemized as his expenses. This amount still excludes his last four trips to Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, and Russia.

According to Angara, it is Duterte's duty as president to establish foreign relations.

“I don't know the comparative figures for the past administrations of Aquino and Arroyo, but the conduct of foreign affairs is one of the duties of the President. This is especially true since we are heading the ASEAN and are expected to receive several invitations to visit foreign countries,” said Angara, whose father, former Senate president Edgardo Angara was appointed as Duterte’s special envoy to the European Union.

On the other hand, Gatchalian who joined the president in his trips to China and Russia defended Duterte. According to hi,. being the chairman of the ASEAN in 2017. he said Duterte was duty bound to go around the region to personally invite his counterparts.

“The Philippines is the current chairman of ASEAN and at the same time, we hosted the ASEAN convention during the first year of (Duterte's) term. As chairman, [he] was duty bound to go around Asia to personally invite the different leaders to participate in the convention,” Gatchalian said in a text message.

Villanueva also said it has been the wish of many including the past administrations to bring home investments whenever they go to foreign countries and it has always been a practice.

"I think all of us, just like in the past administrations, wish to also see how much investment they were able to bring in because of these travels so we can have the complete picture. It has always been the practice anyway, and we of course give consideration sa goodwill," he said.

Aside from the three senators mentioned above, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Francis Escudero and Joseph Ejercito have also joined the president's trip.

Source: Rappler