AROUND P277 million of public funds was spent for President Rodrigo Duterte's foreign visits last year, Malacañang reported Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the funds were allocated for the President's airfare and charter lease, among others.

"The President made a total of seven foreign trips, visiting a total of 12 countries since he took office," Abella said.

"These visits incurred a total of about 277 million in expenses, which included airfare, charter lease and others," he added.

Since Duterte assumed the presidency in June 2016, his schedule for overseas trips had been jam-packed, among those are in Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Cambodia, and Singapore.

Abella said Duterte's visit to neighboring countries aims to enhance diplomatic relations, which would help boost the economy of the Philippines.

He then cited the President's visit to China that resulted in the signing of over 20 agreements, yielding an investment commitments valued at $4 billion and projected to generate more than 100,000 jobs.

He added that the visit to Japan produced investment commitments estimated at $1.85 billion and will generate about 250,000 jobs in the next few years.

"These official trips are part of the President’s obligation to maintain and strengthen diplomatic ties with neighboring countries and has clinched numerous economic investments and commitments," Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)