THE government is expected to save at least P1.3 billion after the Aquino administration signed Tuesday a deal with the Philippine Airlines for discounted domestic fares of government officials and employees.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that its Procurement Service-PhilGEPS, the main procuring entity of the government, inked the General Fares Agreement (GFA) on domestic airline travel for an initial 23 national government agencies.

Under the agreement, all official domestic trips of government officials, employees and personnel will be given 8 percent discount for economy class reservations, 10 percent discount for business class, additional baggage allowance, and waiver of processing fee worth P250 per ticket, and waiver of fees for first rebooking, among others.

"With the 8 percent discount on economy class travel, the government is estimated to save P830.93 million, and with the waiver of the P250-processing fee, the government will save P519.38 million," DBM said.

The government has a P10.3 billion budget for domestic airline travel for 2016.

According to PS Executive Director Atty. Jose Tomas C. Syquia, their 2015 survey found that airline tickets ranked as a one of the top commonly-required item in the procurement activities of government agencies.

“Our partnership with Philippine Airlines 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,” said Syquia.

The roll-out 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, DBM said.

During the initial implementation, ticket purchases will be charged under the PS-PhilGEPS’ revolving fund, in coordination with the Landbank of the Philippines to take into account the existing credit lines of government agencies, it added. (SDR/Sunnex)