Congressional Committees Call For Abolition of Road Board
The House Committees on Government Reorganization and Public Works and Highways recently approved the substitute bill abolishing the Road Board, "paving the way for a more transparent and proactive utilization of funds collected through the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC)."
"I have no reason to doubt the statements of the Speaker, as well as those of my colleagues who were approached for kickbacks," said Camiguin Representative Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo, Chairman of the Committee on Government Reorganization. Romualdo was referring to the alleged kickbacks being demanded by some unscrupulous officials of the Board regarding the use of the funds, which House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself confirmed.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 8794, the MVUC is supposed to be used exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control. However, past Commission on Audit reports flagged certain irregularities in the use of the MVUC funds, such as the use of P515.15 million for salaries, allowances, and maintenance and other operating expenses, and other irregularities in the expenditure of more than P1.66 billion in funds.
The MVUC is collected annually by the Land Transportation Office each time a vehicle's registration is renewed.
"With these allegations of corruption and misuse of funds, and the very long and circuitous process of having projects implemented out of Road Board funds, the Committees decided to give to the Department of Public Works and Highways the management of funds for road projects and to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources the management of funds for pollution control," Romualdo added. "The funds will thus already be with the implementing agencies themselves. This will lead to a more efficient use of the funds for projects that will benefit the public.".
The Senate's version of their bill abolishing the Road Board, Senate Bill No. 1620, has recently been approved on Second Reading.
The Road Board was established by RA No. 8794 to "implement the prudent and efficient management" of the MVUC funds.