Deputies return to “normality” with trips in which they charge onerous travel expenses (some higher than Q30,000)

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Deputies return to

With the return to normality of many of the economic activities due to the covid-19 pandemic, including travel, in the Congress of the Republic the participation of some deputies in international events also returned to daily life, which allows them to collect expensive travel expenses. .

From March 2020 to September 2021, the Congress of the Republic did not register movements in its finances for the payment of travel expenses, due to the fact that most countries had restrictions on their borders due to the pandemic; however, as of that date, the parliamentarians resumed the trips.

This year alone, the Legislative Body, which just finished the First Ordinary Period of Sessions, has disbursed Q116,390.38 for travel expenses abroad for 7 parliamentarians from the Vamos, Winaq, FCN-Nación, PAN, UCN and UNE caucuses.

Who are they and where did they go?

The deputy of the UNE, Thelma Ramírez, traveled from March 18 to 25 to Bali, Indonesia, to participate in the 144 Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. She received Q30 thousand 573.55 as travel expenses.

Deputy Julio Longo, from FCN-Nación and second secretary of the Board of Directors of Congress, received Q27,700.04 for two trips to Panama City, one in February and the other in March.

The first was to participate in the Plenary of Directives of Commissions of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino) held between February 8 and 10, and for which Q11 thousand 534.72 were granted.

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The second trip was last March to participate in the Meeting of the Parlatino Environment and Tourism Commission and for which he was paid Q16 thousand 165.65 as travel expenses. The trip was between March 16 and 19.

From April 13 to 19, Deputy Samantha Figueroa, also from UNE, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in a series of meetings linked to the Convention on Biological Diversity and received Q26 thousand 568.62 in travel expenses.

The deputy of Vamos, Guillermo Cifuentes, traveled from February 9 to 12 to the 36th Ordinary Assembly of the Latin American and Caribbean Parliament (Parlatino), held in Panama City and received Q11,340.69 in travel expenses.

The second vice president of the Board of Directors, Carolina Orellana, from UCN, traveled from March 10 to 12 to the 40th Ordinary Meeting of the Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Powers of Central America, the Caribbean Basin and Mexico (Fropel), for which the Congress of the Republic granted him Q9 thousand 241.32 in travel expenses.

To the same event that Orellana attended, Deputy Manuel Conde, from the PAN, also traveled who, for the same period, was granted Q6 thousand 930.99.

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The deputy Sonia Gutiérrez, from the Winaq bench, received Q4 thousand 034.84 in travel expenses for a trip made between January 26 and 27 of this year to Honduras, for the inauguration of the president of that country, Xiomara Castro.

In the 2022 budget, the Legislative Organism has assigned Q2 million 821 thousand 200 to pay travel expenses abroad, and currently 4.15% of the total has been spent.

After the pandemic, in October last year parliamentarians’ trips to international events resumed, and in total the Legislature spent Q113 thousand 648.09 of the budget allocated for that item.

After resuming the presence of Guatemalan deputies in events, Congress has spent to date Q230 thousand 338.47 in travel expenses.

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Article 3 of agreement 14-2017 of the Board of Directors of Congress, in subsection I, states that the per diems granted to parliamentarians include “food expenses, local transportation at the place of the official commission and payment of tolls ”.

The regulations also justify that the position of deputy is compatible with the representation of Guatemala before international Congresses, within the scope of its competence.

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