Gov’t, PAL sign deal on public travel
The government stands to save more than P1.3 billion a year from air travel expenses after an agreement was signed Tuesday with flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) granting discounts on public officials and employees’ tickets for official trips within the country.
The general fares agreement signed between PAL and the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Procurement Service-PhilGEPS will grant 8-percent discount for economy class reservations, 10-percent discount for business class, provide additional baggage allowance and waive the processing fee of P250 per ticket and the fees for first rebooking, among other perks for government personnel traveling on official business locally.
The agreement would initially cover 23 national agencies, the DBM said in a statement.
The discounts on reservations for economy class airfare would allow the government to save P830.9 million a year while the waiving of the processing fee would result in P519.4 million in savings, the DBM said.
Total savings from the discounts that PAL will provide would account for almost a tenth of the government’s P10.3-billion budget for domestic air travel this year.
“Our partnership with [PAL] will greatly impact government transactions for domestic airline travel. As part of the government’s common requirement, which we will aggregate, we can purchase domestic airline tickets faster and easier,” PS-PhilGEPS executive director Jose Tomas C. Syquia was quoted by the DBM as saying. PS-PhilGEPS serves as the government’s main procuring entity.
Syquia disclosed that a 2015 survey they conducted showed that airline tickets were among the most “commonly required” items during government agencies’ procurement activities.
“The rollout plan for the ‘Domestic Air Travel as a Common Use’ program will start in May with training programs for the hands-on use and navigation of the PAL portal within the PS-PhilGEPS website. During the initial implementation, ticket purchases will be charged under the PS-PhilGEPS’ revolving fund, in coordination with Land Bank of the Philippines to take into account the existing credit lines of government agencies,” the DBM said.
In a speech during the signing ceremony, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said the agreement with PAL “signals the government’s readiness to step up and show firm action for it.”
“We are saying farewell to counter-intuitive internal policies, to yards and yards of agonizing red tape, to inefficiencies that create operational bottlenecks and fund leakages. Through our partnership with PAL, we’re taking a strong stand for creative and efficient problem-solving,” Abad said.