By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a number of provisions in the delayed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2019.
Apart from the P95.3 billion worth of items under the Department of Public Works and Highways, a total of 18 provisions were directly vetoed, 24 provisions were placed under conditional implementation, and two provisions were met with general observations.
“The hard-earned money of our people must be used to improve the condition of our country and their overall welfare. I have said this beforee and I will say it again – I will not tolerate corruption in my Administration,” Duterte said in his veto message dated April 15, 2019.
“Our position should never be used for personal gain; otherwise, we are not worthy of the offices we hold. As public officials, we must honor our offices and the Filipino people whom we serve,” he added.
The items subjected to direct veto were the following:
*Department of Labor and Employment-National Labor Relations Commission, Special Provision No. 1, “Use of Income”
*Allocations to Local Government Units (ALGU)-Special Shares of Local Government Unit (LGU) in Proceeds of National Taxes, Special Provision No. 3, “Shares in Excise Taxes from Locally Manufactured Virginia-type Cigarettes”
*ALGU-Special Shares of LGU in the Proceeds of National Taxes, Special Provision No. 4, “Shares in Excise Taxes from Burley and Native Tobacco Products
*ALGU-Local Government Support Fund (LGSF), Special Provision No. 1, “Assistance to Municipalities”
*ALGU-LGSF Special Provision No. 2, “Assistance to Cities”
*ALGU-LGSF Special Provision No. 5, “Other Financial Assistance to Local Government Units”
*Section 96, General Provisions, “Cost of Devolved Health Services of Local Government Units”
*Section 91, General Provisions, “Collection of Fees in Relation to the Retention or Reqcuisition of Philippine Citizenship”
*Department of Justice-Bureau of Immigration, Special Provision No. 2, “Special Work Permit”
*National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, Special Provision No. 1, “National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program”
*Unprogrammed Appropriations, Special Provision No. 15, “Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Fund”
*DPWH-Office of the Secretary (OSEC), Special Provision No. 1, “Special Road Support Fund”
*DPWH-OSEC, Special Provision No. 2, “Special Road Safety Fund”
*DPWH-OSEC, Special Provision No. 3, “Special Local Road Fund
*Department of Transportation-OSEC, Special Provision No. 1, “Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund”
*UA, Special Provision No. 17, “Prohibitions Against the Use of Unprogrammed Appropriations”
*Item (g), Section 52, General Provisions, “Authorized Deductions” and
*Section 66, General Provisions, “Impoundment of Appropriations”
Items under conditional implementation were allowance and benefits of teachers and the creation of teaching positions; construction of evacuation centers; funding for foreign-assisted projects; revolving fund; lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays; financial assistance to LGUs; funding requirements of the Philippine Foreign Service; provision of salaries under the assistance to indigent patients; double programming of funding source; allocation of maintenance and other operating expenses to lower courts; and government internship program; tertiary internship program among others.
In closing, Duterte encouraged the Filipino people to work together and ensure that every peso of the 2019 budget is “well spent.”