PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. vetoed two more bills from the 18th Congress, which would exempt from income tax the honoraria of people who volunteered during the polls and created the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB).
In brief statement issued last Saturday, Press secretary Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles thumbed down House Bill No. 9651 and Senate Bill No. 2520, which would have granted the income tax exemption. The veto message explained that it is contrary to provisions of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).
“Moreover, the studies of pertinent government agencies on the revenue loss is too substantial an impact to be foregone,” Angeles said.
The Department of Finance (DOF) during the previous administration also expressed the same position when it opposed the proposed legislation.
Angeles said Marcos also declined to sign House Bill No. 9030 and Senate Bill No. 1077 creating the PTSB, since it would have the same functions as the agencies under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“Creating a new body (PTSB) will only create functional duplication, confusion as to authority, ineffectiveness, and deficiency in the performance of the responsibilities,” Angeles said.
Angeles said Marcos already sent the respective veto messages for both bills to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
With the addition of both bills, Marcos has now vetoed a total of five bills from the 18th Congress.
The three other vetoed bills are those which created the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport; strengthened the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel; and expanded the franchise of the Davao Light and Power Company.
Poe laments PTSB veto
Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate public services committee, disputed the basis for the veto of the PTSB.
“The need for an independent agency to investigate transport accidents is a global standard which should have been in place,” Poe said in a statement.
“A close review into the provisions of the proposed Philippine Transportation Safety Board would reveal that all functions and mandates are not at all duplicated.
“An important outcome of the body will be safety recommendations to avert the next accident,” Poe added.
The senator called the veto “unfortunate given that from 2016 to 2020 alone, a total of 483 accidents have been recorded in the maritime sector, while the road sector reported a 12,487 yearly average deaths due to road crashes.”
Safety, she stressed, “should be no accident,” adding that, “while we recognize the challenging fiscal position of the government, the mounting toll of road accidents must no longer be overlooked.”
Having a Philippine Transportation Safety Board, Poe said, “will contribute to strengthening our transportation structure to improve mobility, put people back to work and spur the economy.”
Nonetheless, Poe said, “the small hitch in its passage will not discourage us from pursuing a law that will make our riding public the true winners.”
Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila