MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his veto message on the 2019 budget, said he would “not tolerate any attempts to circumvent the Constitution.”
“Consistent with the foregoing aspirations and in 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 in his 13-page veto message.
“Accordingly, I hereby exercise my constitutional duty and register the following actions in this year’s GAA (General Appropriations Act),” he added.
Duterte explained that his reason for vetoing PHP95.3 billion items of appropriations under the budget is because they were not within programmed priorities.
“It bears emphasis that there are items of appropriation under the DPWH which are not within the programmed priorities. As such, they are hereby subjected to direct veto,” Duterte said.
Duterte also vetoed 12 provisions under the general and specific provisions, such as a provision that reduces the mandated allocation of Internal Revenue Allotment shares of local government units, unprogrammed appropriations under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Fund, and a provision that hampers the use of unprogrammed appropriations by the Office of the President, to name a few.
The President, meanwhile, acknowledged that the passage of the budget has not been “smooth” but noted that such delays showed lawmakers commitment to pursue the common good.
“Admittedly, the passage of the FY 2019 Budget was not as smooth as we had hoped for. But we can look back at this experience positively if we choose to see certain delays as a manifestation of our legislators’ commitment to the exercise of the power of the purse for the common good,” Duterte said.
He also remained optimistic that the budget would allow government to fund economic and social services, usher in the age of infrastructure, and sustain growth targets. (PNA)
Photo by Simeon Celi Jr/Presidential Photo