Despite 2019 budget delay, Duterte vows infrastructure push 'will be sustained'

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2019 03:59 PM | Updated as of Apr 16 2019 04:02 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañang Palace on April 15, 2019. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photos


MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed P95.3 billion in appropriations when he signed on Monday the Philippines’ long-delayed P3.7-trillion national budget for this year.

Duterte, in his veto message to Congress released Tuesday, said the government remains “steadfast and optimistic” in pursuing its ambitious infrastructure program. 

“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.

Wrangling among lawmakers over supposed insertions in the national spending plan delayed the passage of this year’s budget and forced the government to run on a reenacted 2018 spending plan for nearly 4 months.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said the vetoed amount includes P75 billion in "insertions" by members of the House of Representatives covering public works projects. 

He had sought the President's veto in forwarding the budget for Duterte's approval. 

“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,” the President said.

Listed below are items that the President excluded from this year’s spending plan:

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

 
ITEMS OF APPROPRIATION

The President also vetoed a total of P95, 374,241,000 of appropriations under the Department of Public Works and Highways which are not within the administration’s “programmed priorities”

CONDITIONAL IMPLEMENTATION

The following provisions were approved by the President for implementation subject to certain conditions:

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

5. Lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays

6. Financial assistance to LGUs

7. Funding requirements of the Philippine Foreign Service

8. Provision of salaries under the assistance to indigent patients

9. Double programming of funding source

10. Allocation of maintenance and other operating expenses to lower courts

11. Government internship program

12. Tertiary education subsidy

Read the President's full message here:

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