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Arjo Atayde's foreign trips will not use government funds: Congress

By Melanie Uson Published Aug 02, 2023 5:45 pm

The Congress clarified that the government will not be funding Arjo Atayde's upcoming trip to Europe from Aug. 5 to 27.

This is in accordance with the Travel Authority (TA) issued to the actor-politician on July 10, which allows him to attend the screening of his movie Topakkk at the 76th Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. 

Quezon City 1st District representative Atayde is among the vice chairperson of the Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts, along with Bohol 2nd District Rep. Maria Vanessa Aumentado, Leyte 4th District Rep. Richard Gomez, and Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Francisco Benitez. He will represent the Philippines as vice chairperson of the said committee in the festival.

“No government funds will be used for the official travel of Rep. Atayde,” House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified. 

After Switzerland, the TA also allows him to visit Italy and Greece within the three-week period. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Aug. 2, his wife, actress Maine Mendoza refuted claims that the upcoming foreign trips are shouldered by the government, with the latter saying it was “misleading and false.” 

“Arjo will go to Locarno as his film is part of the Locarno film fest. Our personal trip after that is at personal expense, out of our OWN pockets,” she said in a now-deleted post in X, formerly known as Twitter.

Next time yung magagaling nating netizens, kung walang time mag fact-check, huwag padalos-dalos sa pag react. Mema minsan. Pati kayo nagpapaloko sa maling balita at impormasyon. Sayang ang pagiging ‘woke’ kung lahat nalang papaniwalaan,” she added. 

In a separate post, the actress again made it clear that the trips will be one hundred percent “at personal expense.” 

“There are two kinds of “official” travels and I hope you include that in your article and where this trip falls under. I will probably be asked to delete this again but I shall say it again one last time, EVERYTHING is at PERSONAL EXPENSE. 100%. No government funds will be used,” she stressed. 

Topakkk is an action-thriller film that follows the story of Miguel (Arjo), a security guard who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He gets entangled in different dilemmas in an attempt to save the woman who is being hunted by a corrupt police death squad working for a drug cartel. Joining him in the film are Julia Montes and Sid Lucero, among others.  

Locarno Film Festival is Switzerland’s most prestigious film festival that will be held from August 2 to 12, 2023.