PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has transmitted his veto message to Congress, detailing his decision to reject the use of public funds for Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects, and 12 other items included in the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
In a letter dated April 15 and addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, Duterte announced that he is exercising his veto power against items of appropriation in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), as these are "not consistent with the programmed priorities."
"Any provision introduced in the budget which does not relate to a particular appropriation or those which seek to amend the Constitution and existing laws have no place in the GAA," the President said in his veto letter.
"These are considered 'rider' provisions, and therefore, must be subjected to direct veto," he added.
Duterte specifically vetoed the items of appropriation under the DPWH that are "not within the programmed priorities."
"As such, they are hereby subjected to direct veto. Said veto items of appropriation listed in annex A hereof, in the total amount of P93,374,241,000, are marked accordingly in the Details of DPWH Programs/Projects, Annex of the FY (fiscal year) 2019 GAA," he said.
He also opposed the "Use of Income" under the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), citing that the funding requirements for the commission's regular operations are "already fully provided under its budget."
He also noted that "there is nothing in Republic Act (RA) 9347 the law governing the NLRC, which authorizes the use of its income."
The President likewise directly vetoed the provisos in the special provisions on the implementation of projects by the DPWH, the Department of Trade and Industry, and other concerned agencies under Allocations to Local Government Units (ALGU)-Special Shares of LGU in the Proceeds of National Taxes.
He said such provisos "contravene the express provisions of RA 7171 and RA 8240, as amended by RA 10352, which specifically mandate the local government units (LGUs), not national government agencies, to implement the programs and projects under said laws."
Duterte also noted that he was "forced" to outright veto the special provisions of ALGU-Local Government Support Fund, "insofar as these provisions authorize the use of LGSF for maternal and child health projects."
He likewise emphasized that he has to reject the general provision allowing collection of fees in relation to the retention and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship, as this is has "no place in an appropriations act," as it is "more appropriately dealt with in separate enactments."
Duterte further disapproved the use of funds for Bureau of Immigrations' special provision concerning Special Work Permit, as well as for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's calamity fund for the relief, recovery, reconstruction, and other work services in connection with calamities that happened two years from the budget year.
The President also directly thumbed down the "unprogrammed" appropriations of Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Fund becausee of "lack of legal basis."
The provisions concerning the implementation of Motor Vehicle User's Charge were also vetoed, since these are "no longer relevant" following the abolition of graft-ridden Road Board.
Duterte likewise directly vetoed provisions that "effectively hamper the performance of [his] official duties as the head of the Executive branch."
"It limits the power of the President, as chief architect of foreign policy, to enter into loan agreements consistent with Section 20, Article VII of the Constitution," he stressed.
He also opposed the spending of budget to finance companies and other similar entities that have authority to engage in lending and mutual benefits because of "lack of legal basis."
The Chief Executive also wielded his veto power against "Impoundment of Appropriations," as this is "inconsistent with the authority granted to the President to suspend or stop further expenditure of funds." (SunStar Philippines)