Salvador Panelo, spokesperson of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, said that incoming cabinet members should maintain a normal lifestyle under the incoming administration as austerity is very important for Duterte.
Ordinary commutes and simple meals are to replace luxury trips and festive dining, as the iron-fisted Duterte ordered a pennywise spending in the government.
Judy Taguiwalo, incoming social welfare secretary said that she is “happy with that kind of announcement, because I think that’s a good start.”
(Photo credit: cswcd.upd.edu.ph)
“He said people are paying taxes. When we buy any item, we pay tax. And he said if we take business class (flights) even if we personally spend for it because we can afford it, people won’t see that. What they will see is we are taking business class because they are paying for it,” Panelo said.
According to Panelo, Duterte also said that the members of the cabinet can take the economy class because there are so many people who are struggling.
Panelo, a lawyer, currently uses his Toyota Camry and not his two-door Mercedez Benz as a sign of submission to his boss’ command. He said that he is also considering taking the jeepney.
“We are all 100 percent agreeable with the policy of the President-elect. Even taking luxury cars—because many of us have luxury cars—but we agree. That’s just right so people can’t say anything to us,” the lawyer said.
During Duterte’s meeting on Tuesday, Panelo said that only simple snacks were served.
“I think I got to eat only candy during the meeting. I think it really was austere, but that’s OK, unlike in previous administrations when what was served were really sumptuous food. This one, it’s not like that. Mayor Duterte is very consistent,” Panelo said.
The president-elect is known for his humble reputation. Duterte also considers using his pick-up truck as official presidential vehicle.