US travel ban on Cabinet execs covers family trips: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2020 02:12 PM

US travel ban on Cabinet execs covers family trips: Palace 1
President Rodrigo Duterte strikes his signature pose with the members of the Cabinet after signing into law the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020 during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on January 6, 2020. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte's order barring his Cabinet officials from traveling to the United States also covers their personal trips and their families, his spokesman clarified Thursday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said members of Duterte's Cabinet should defer to the President's "wishes" for the meantime.

"Oo, huwag na pumunta doon (Let's not go there). Let's defer to the President's wishes," Panelo told reporters.

Duterte on Wednesday night said he would not allow his top government officials to go to the US "indefinitely," likening the move to a "boycott" as Manila began terminating a military accord with Washington.

Panelo on Thursday however clarified that the President's order does not cover the Foreign Affairs secretary which means that the department's activities would push through.

Other Cabinet members meanwhile welcomed the decision, Panelo said as he noted that members of President Duterte's family would also refrain from traveling to the US.

"The members of the family will also do likewise in deference to the father," he said.

But just last week, the President's eldest daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was in Washington for the US State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.

Panelo explained that the President's decision is more of a "protest" to Washington's supposed attempts to interfere with Manila's domestic affairs.

The President earlier also declined an invitation to attend a summit with other Southeast Asian leaders in Las Vegas on March 4.