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Noy vetoes use of ERC, DOTC, NBI income in 2016 budget

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has vetoed provisions in the Congress-approved P3-trillion 2016 budget that allowed three agencies to use their income in addition to their appropriations.

He made the veto on Tuesday when he signed the budget, his sixth and last.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said of the 145 revisions and new provisions introduced by Congress in Aquino’s budget proposal, the President vetoed only three items.

“The President directly vetoed the use of income provisions under the budgets of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in the absence of a separate law allowing agencies to use their income,” he said.

“In addition, only 27 provisions were subjected to conditional implementation. Conditional implementation means further guidelines or conditions are needed to implement these provisions in order to ensure consistency with existing laws, policies, rules and regulations,” he said.

He attributed the low number of provisos deleted by Aquino to the “collaborative working relationship” between Congress and Malacañang.

“This collaborative working relationship has put an end to the practice of frequent budget re-enactment during the previous administration and caused the passage of the GAA (General Appropriations Act or budget) on time every year for the past six years,” he said.

“I thank the members of the 16th Congress for their commitment to work alongside us in crafting a national budget that truly supports the administration’s agenda for inclusive growth,” he said.

The NBI, DOTC and ERC have hundreds of millions in income from fees and other impositions.

Last year, in signing the 2015 budget, Aquino vetoed similar provisions inserted by Congress in his budget proposal.

In his veto message to Congress, he said besides the absence of a law allowing these agencies to use their income, giving them such privilege would result in “double programming” of revenues.

He said the agencies’ earnings from fees already formed part of this year’s revenue program.

“Allowing these agencies to use their income will result in double programming of the same income and increase our expenditures without the corresponding revenue sources,” he said.

He also placed under conditional implementation more than 30 provisions in this year’s budget.

Aquino’s last spending bill is double the outlay he inherited from the previous administration.

When he took over from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2010, annual appropriations amounted to P1.541 trillion. These went up to P1.645 trillion in 2011, P1.816 trillion in 2012, P2.006 trillion in 2013, P2.265 trillion in 2014 and P2.606 trillion this year.

The budget Aquino signed on Tuesday contains the biggest annual increase of almost P400 billion.

A doubling of tax collections principally by the Bureau of Internal Revenue allowed the administration to substantially increase its annual budget.

Aquino has said the highest collection on record was P778.6 billion in 2008, during the Arroyo administration.

“We surpassed this by leaps and bounds. In 2012, the BIR collected P1.06 trillion – the first time in our history we have breached the one-trillion-mark for collections. Last year, the number went up to P1.3 trillion. This year (2015), we will collect up to P1.5 trillion,” he said.

“We only needed five years to match, surpass and almost double our predecessor’s record high – and we did this without imposing new taxes, as promised,” he said.

ACIRC AQUINO BUDGET BUDGET SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE CONGRESS AND MALACA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT INCOME TRILLION
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