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Dec 11th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. VAT Funds Can’t Be Channeled to Subsidies Sans Congressional Approval – Senator Pimentel
VAT Funds Can’t Be Channeled to Subsidies Sans Congressional Approval – Senator Pimentel PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 21:19

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) warns that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cannot channel the windfall profits from the Value Added Tax (VAT) collection to her subsidy program for marginalized sectors without first securing the authorization of Congress.


Senator Pimentel reminded the President of the constitutional provision that no funds can be released from the national treasury unless supported by an appropriations law enacted by Congress in accordance with its power over the purse.


“The President is using the money derived from VAT for the purpose of her dole-out scheme.  Giving subsidy to the poor is not really a bad idea. But that should be sanctioned by law, If there is no enabling law, that is wrong,” he said.


He noted that the Arroyo government has been implementing other subsidy scheme such as the “Food for School Program” of the Department of Education and the day care centers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. But he said the funding for these programs has been approved by Congress and included in the general appropriations act.


Mr. Pimentel explained that the Constitution requires that the use of public funds should be covered by an appropriations law to ensure that these are spent for which they were legally intended and to prevent malversation or misuse of resources.


He said it would be terrible mistake if the President handles taxpayers’ money as if she owns or as if she had a blanket authority to spend according to her personal caprices.


“The proceeds of the VAT collection therefore cannot be used based on the whim of the person controlling that money.  It can only be used if there is law that allows its use for specific purposes,” the minority leader said.


Senator Pimentel also criticized the President for trying to deceive the people with her outlandish claim that the removal of the VAT will only favor the rich.

"That’s not true. The VAT hits all sectors of society.  Rich or poor. When you ride a jeepney or bus or buy food and other goods in the supermarket, you have to pay the VAT,” he said.

The senator from Mindanao said the President is wrong if she thinks that she can fool the people with that hollow statement, since they have long been complaining about the onerous VAT levied on essential commodities that they have to shoulder. # # #

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 21:33

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