PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte directly vetoed five items in this year’s P5.024-trillion national budget, including the creation of a human rights institute.

Mr. Duterte rejected a provision in Republic Act 11639 or the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022 that establishes a human rights institute, saying no “appropriation is provided for the purpose.”

“The creation of an institute, just like other offices, should be subject to a comprehensive review of the mandate, mission, objectives and functions, systems and procedures, programs, activities and projects, as well as the corresponding structural, functional, operational adjustments in an organization, including the necessary staffing and funding requirements,” the President said in his veto message. 

Mr. Duterte also vetoed a provision on the Department of Transportation’s (DoTr) motor vehicle inspection and gender responsive restroom programs, saying the items “should not have found their way in this GAA considering both do not relate to any appropriation in the DoTr’s budget.”

The President also rejected a provision excluding lands owned by state universities and colleges from the comprehensive agrarian reform program, saying this is already covered by Republic Act (RA) No. 6657.

He similarly vetoed a provision that seeks to expand the authorized credit facilities that will manage the Agro-Industry Modernization Program as provided under RA No. 8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997. “The provisions of RA 8435, being a substantive law, shall prevail.”

“The vetoed items were not crucial,” Department of Budget and Management officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie L. Canda told an online news briefing on Dec. 31 in Filipino.

Mr. Duterte last week signed into law the national budget, which is 10% higher than the 2021 budget and is equivalent to 21.8% of the gross domestic product. The government expects economic output to grow by 7-9% this year. — K.A.T.Atienza