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Duterte on vetoed P95.3B: I will not tolerate attempts to circumvent Constitution

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:24 PM April 16, 2019
Duterte on P95.3-B veto: I will not tolerate attempts to circumvent Constitution

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. (Photo by ARMAN BAYLON / Presidential Photographers Division)

MANILA, Philippines — In a strongly worded warning to Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte said in his veto message that he will “not tolerate attempts to circumvent the Constitution” as he vetoed P95.3-billion appropriations in the 2019 national budget.

“[I]n the faithful exercise of my Office and due fidelity to my oath, I will not tolerate attempts to circumvent the Constitution or any other action that will prejudice the Filipino people whom I serve,” Duterte said.

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In his veto message, the President said the vetoed P95.3 billion appropriations were “items of appropriation under the DPWH which are not within the programmed priorities.”

“As such they are subject to direct veto,” he said.

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READ: Duterte signs 2019 national budget; vetoes P95.3B

Of the P95,374,241,000 vetoed amount, 94,564,241,000 were supposed to be allocated for construction of school building, national and local roads, flood control projects, and water management.

The vetoed allocation also included P350 million for the land acquisition and related expenses of the National Government Center.

Also vetoed was the P100 million for feasibility studies and preliminary and detailed engineering of roads and bridges in Metro Manila and Davao City and the P360 million for road-right-of-way payments for infrastructure projects in Davao City.

Despite his veto of budget appropriations for DPWH projects, Duterte said his administration’s infrastructure projects would be sustained.

“We remain steadfast and optimistic. With massive spending for economic and social services, our development pursuits will be sustained. We are ushering in the country’s golden age of infrastructure as we aggressively build our infrastructure assets,” he said.

Due to the delayed passage of the budget, and the election ban, Duterte said “we will allow the implementation of, and payment for, infrastructure projects to extend until December 31, 2020, provided that the funds for the purpose are obligated not later than December 31, 2019, in accordance with Section 65, General Provisions of this Act.”

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“This rule shall, likewise, cover subsidies given to government owned or controlled corporations for infrastructure projects,” he said.

“We remain steadfast and optimistic. With massive spending for economic and social services, our development pursuits will be sustained. We are ushering in the country’s golden age of infrastructure as we aggressively build our infrastructure assets,” he said.

The signed budget is now P3.662 trillion.

Duterte reiterated he would “not tolerate corruption in his administration” as he told government officials “that the hard-earned money of our people must be used to improve the condition of our country and their overall welfare.”

“Our positions 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 said.

Aside from the nearly P100-billion vetoed appropriations, Duterte also vetoed the following general and specific provisions:

GENERAL AND SPECIAL PROVISIONS

1. Use of “income” under the Department of Labor and Employment National Labor Relations Commission.

2. Allocations to local government units (LGUs) special shares of LGU in the proceeds of national taxes, and shares in tobacco excise taxes from “locally-manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes” and “Burley and native tobacco products” under the special provisions in the implementation of projects by agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Trade and Industries.

3. Assistance to municipalities and cities under the Local Government Support Fund.

4. A provision that “will effectively reduce” the mandated allocation of internal revenue shares of LGUs.

5. A provision on the collection of fees to retain or reacquire Philippine citizenship.

6. A “special work permit” provision of the Bureau of Immigration.

7. A provision on the “National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program.”

8. Unprogrammed appropriations under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Fund.

9. The “special road support fund,” “special local road fund,” and “special vehicle pollution control fund” under the DPWH.

10. “Prohibitions Against the Use of Unprogrammed Appropriations” by the Office of the President

11. “Authorized Deductions” under general provisions which include obligations to financing and lending companies.

12. “Impoundment of Appropriations” under general provisions.

The President likewise subjected the following provisions to conditional implementation “to ensure conformity (to) existing laws, policies, and rules and regulations”:

  1. Allowance and benefits of teachers and creation of teaching positions;
  2. Construction of evacuation centers;
  3. Funding for foreign-assisted projects
  4. Revolving fund for agro-industrial products under the Bureau of Corrections;
  5. Lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays under general provisions.

Other provisions placed under conditional implementation “to optimize the use of public funds and avoid duplication of funding resources” were:

  1. Financial assistance to LGUs;
  2. Funding requirements of the Philippine Foreign Service;
  3. Provision of salaries under the assistance to indigent patients;
  4. Double programming of funding source;
  5. Allocation of maintenance and other operating expenses to lower courts;
  6. Government internship program;
  7. Tertiary education subsidy.

Further, the following were similarly placed under conditional implementation:

  1. Collection of express lane fees and charges by the Bureau of Immigration “to recognize the efforts put forth by the BI in securing our national borders, and to motivate them to improve further”;
  2. Special duty allowance for the Vice Presidential security detachment “in recognition of the services rendered by the said detachment to the Office of the Vice President”;
  3. Authorized deductions of contributions and obligations of government employees to financing institution, in which government agencies were told to “leverage the accommodation given to these financing institutions in order to secure the most favorable terms possible to uphold the rights and promote the interests of all public servants;
  4. Availability of appropriations and cash allocations of the Congress, with the President urging “Congress to foster improved performance in the management and expenditure of the public funds allocated to it.”

Despite Congress’ opposition, Duterte also ordered a cash-based budgeting system for 2019.

“Let me emphasize that pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987, I shall mandate the implementation of a cash budget for fiscal year 2019 to ensure the availability of cash resources for priority development projects, and speed up delivery of services,” he said. /jpv/kga/ee

Click here to open Palace’s explanation on the veto. (in PDF format)

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