House okays bill abolishing Road Board on 2nd reading

MANILA The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure seeking the abolition of the Road Board to prevent the misuse of billions of pesos of road users' tax.

Through voice voting, the lower chamber passed House Bill No. 7436, which seeks to abolish the Road Board and transfer the management of the road users' tax to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The Road Board was created under Republic Act No. 8794, which imposes a motor vehicle users' charge (MVUC) on owners of all types of motor vehicles.

The MVUC is earmarked solely for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control.

However, previous Commission on Audit reports flagged irregularities in the use of the MVUC funds, such as unauthorized, unnecessary, and irregular expenses, excessive contract costs for projects, delayed and uncompleted projects, and technical deficiencies and defects in projects that could jeopardize motorists and pedestrians.

Under the bill, the collections of the road fund shall be allocated in four special trust accounts in the National Treasury: 40 percent each in the national and local road support funds, both managed by the DPWH; 10 percent in the vehicle pollution control fund managed by the DOTr; and the pollution control fund managed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, sponsor of the measure, said the Road Board abolition, with corresponding changes to the MVUC Law, would ensure the prudent management and efficient use of the road fund.

We remove an opaque and intricate layer of the bureaucracy and put the funds directly in the hands of the implementing agencies. We clear up who is responsible and accountable for the use of the funds, which would lead to proper and better use of the funds," Romualdo said.

"We also ensure that projects funded out of the MVUC collections, particularly for construction and improvement of local roads, which is badly needed in the countryside, will be distributed equitably throughout the country, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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