Unconstitutional items in 2021 nat’l budget vetoed: Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed some provisions of the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), Malacañang said Tuesday.

In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte exercised his power to veto certain unconstitutional items before signing the PHP4.5-trillion national budget for next year on Monday.

“Bilang bahagi ng kaniyang Constitutional mandate na lahat ng batas ay tapat na maipatupad, pinag-aralan ng punong ehekutibo ang mga probisyon ng ating pambansang budget at sinubject sa direct veto ang mga probisyon kontra sa mga nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas (As part of his Constitutional mandate that all laws be lawfully enforced, the Chief Executive studied the provisions of our national budget and subject to direct veto the provisions against those stated in our Constitution),” Roque said.

Roque said Duterte vetoed the provision allowing agencies to directly use their income.

“Ilan sa dinirect veto ni Presidente ang may kinalaman sa may use of income ng ilang department at ahensiya (Among the provisions he vetoed is the provision on the use of income of some departments and agencies),” he added.

He said as a general rule, all income of agencies shall accrue to the General Fund of the National Government, unless otherwise authorized by a separate substantive law.

“Ibig sabihin lang po nito, dapat lahat ng kinita ng mga ahensiya ay pumasok sa National Treasury at kinakailangan ang paggastos dito ay sang-ayon sa national budget (This simply means that all the revenue of the agencies must go to the National Treasury and it is necessary to spend it in accordance with the national budget),” he said.

He noted that Duterte ordered the efficient use of public funds, including the utilization of infrastructure-related expenses, implementation of financial assistance to local government units (LGUs), implementation of rice subsidy, and the prompt release and utilization of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management (NDRRM) Fund.

Duterte also ordered the need to observe prevailing laws, policies, and regulations in relation to procurement-related provisions, distribution of allowances and benefits, the use of the Quick Response Fund, identifying program beneficiaries, establishing evacuation centers, implementing service contracting, and funding foreign-assisted projects among others, he added.

Roque also said Duterte urged Congress to promote the proper and transparent management and expenditure of public funds based on sound fiscal policies.

Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11518 to boost the administration’s efforts to effectively respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and provide critical measures to aid the economic and social sectors.

One of the most important allocations in the 2021 national budget is the PHP72.5 billion for the purchase of storage, transportation, and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, he said.

Duterte also assured the public that the administration would ensure the efficient use of resources to help overcome the debilitating effects of the pandemic on public health and the economy.

He said the 2021 national budget attests to a fruitful collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of government especially at a time when the health and welfare of people are at stake.

Source: Philippines News agency

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