Marcos vetoes more bills: Tax exemption on poll honoraria, creation of transportation safety board

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30)— President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vetoed two more proposed measures seeking tax exemption on poll workers’ honoraria, and the creation of a transportation safety board, Malacañang said on Saturday.

In his veto message sent to Congress, Marcos said he decided not to sign the bill exempting from income tax the financial benefits of persons who rendered services during the elections as it “runs counter” to the government’s tax program.

“The measure runs counter to the objective of the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program to correct the inequity in the country’s tax system and negate the progressivity of the reforms introduced under RA 10963 or the TRAIN law,” Marcos wrote.

“Moreover, the studies of pertinent government agencies on the revenue loss is too substantial an impact to be foregone,” he added.

The Department of Finance earlier also rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile, Marcos also vetoed the bill seeking to establish the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB).

The chief executive explained that the functions of the proposed body are already being carried out by different government agencies.

“As such, the proposed creation of the PTSB is likely to create functional duplication, confusion as to authority, ineffectiveness, and deficiency in the performance of the responsibilities,” Marcos said.

The PTSB was eyed to ensure impartial and thorough probe of transport accidents in order to prevent such cases from happening again.

Prior to these measures, Marcos also rejected the following bills: the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, the strengthening of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and the expansion of the franchise area of Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company.

Veto slammed

Marcos’ latest veto, however, drew questions and criticisms from some concerned sectors.

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said the rejection of the tax exemption for poll workers “is a slap in the face” to all those who logged long hours during the May elections.

“With the additional risks and longer hours of poll service that they had to endure, removing the 5% tax on their honoraria and allowances is only just,” Castro said, adding that they would be studying all options to counter the president’s move.

Senator Grace Poe likewise labeled the veto on PTSB as “unfortunate.”

“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.

She added that a review of the provisions would show how the body’s functions are “not at all duplicated.”