PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte barred several government agencies from using their incomes for next year after he vetoed certain provisions of the P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2017.
“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. 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,” Duterte said in his veto message sent to Congress on Dec. 22, and which is expected to appear in the Dec. 29 issue of the Official Gazette.
“Consequently, all income constitute an integral and intrinsic part of the revenue and financing sources of the National Government previously submitted to the Congress. 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,” he added.
The President used direct veto on the “use of income” under the budget of the Energy Regulatory Commission, Commission on Elections and the Professional Regulatory Commission.
Duterte also said there is no substantive law to justify the transfer of funds from tariff proceeds on rice importation by the Department of Agriculture and the immigration fees by the Bureau of Immigration.
“Allowing these agencies to set aside and earmark said proceeds and collections will, in effect, result in double programming and increase our expenditure program without the corresponding revenue sources,” Duterte said.
The President also vetoed the use of express lane charges collected by the BI, earmarked to pay for “salaries of casual and contractual personnel, confidential agents and job employees, augmentation of salaries of personnel who render services beyond office hours, and payment of health insurance premium,” saying that the agency has been provided with funds to pay for the agency’s employees.
“It is important to note that said agency [has] been provided appropriations for overtime pay for FY 2017 and that, a total of seven hundred (700) positions have been created to address the issue on shortage of personnel of the agency. Without a separate substantive law as legal basis, the collected fees from the express lane charges should now be deposited as income of the General Fund,” Duterte said.