Duterte vetoes direct income spending by gov't agencies
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte prohibited government agencies from directly using their income under the approved P3.35-trillion* ($67.3-billion) budget for 2017.
The President vetoed these special provisions under Republic Act 10924 or the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA), which he signed into law on Thursday, December 22.
“In keeping with the powers vested in me by the Constitution, I am compelled to directly veto the new special provisions which allow agencies to directly use their income,” said Duterte in his budget action message sent to the House of Representatives.
“Under existing budgeting laws, rules, and regulations, all income of agencies shall accrue to the General Fund of the National Government, unless authorized by a separate substantive law,” he added.
The President explained that all income from the agencies constitute an “integral and intrinsic” part of the national government’s sources of revenue.
“Hence, including new special provisions in this Act which authorize agencies to use their income will effectively reduce the financing sources of this year’s GAA and at the same time, unjustifiably increase the appropriations of these agencies,” said Duterte.
He then assured the public that the “era of budget credibility” has begun. (READ: 2017 budget: CHED gets P8.3B for free tuition in SUCs)
“Unlike in the past where the budget was vulnerable and open to abuse, this 2017 budget ensures that spending will be kept within the boundaries of the law. What you see in the GAA is what the government will spend,” said Duterte.
Other provisions vetoed
Duterte vetoed 3 other provisions under the 2017 GAA.
He banned the use of income by the other executive officers under the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Department of Labor and Employment’s Professional Regulatory Commission.
Duterte barred the Department of Agriculture from earmarking proceeds from rice tariff, saying that doing so would “result to double programming and increase our expenditure program without the corresponding revenue sources.”
The President also said he is “constrained” to veto the use of express lane charges used by the Bureau of Immigration for the payment of the salaries of casual and contractual personnel, confidential agents, and job employees; the augmentation of the salaries of employees who work beyond offices; and the payment of health insurance premium.
“It is important to note that the said agency have been provided appropriations for overtime pay for FY (Fiscal Year) 2017 and that, a total of 700 positions have been created to address the issue on shortage of personnel of the agency,” said Duterte.
“Without a separate substantive law as legal basis, the collected fees from the express lane charges should now be deposited as income to the General Fund,” he added.
‘Duterte scrutinized the budget’
House appropriations committee chairperson Karlo Nograles agreed that it is within Duterte’s powers as President to veto certain provisions under the 2017 GAA.
“His decision to veto provisions of the General Appropriations Act of 2017 which allows government agencies to directly spend their income truly shows that our President carefully studied the budget down to the smallest detail,” the Davao City 1st District representative told Rappler in a text message on Wednesday, December 28.
Nograles said that the budget was created to ensure that public funds would be spent according to the programs of the Duterte administration.
“Therefore, all government spending should be based on what was provided under the national expenditure program,” he said. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P49.79