SPONSORSHIP SPEECH – SB 1620 ABOLITION OF ROAD BOARD

MR. PRESIDENT, MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER, FELLOW PUBLIC SERVANTS, MAGANDANG HAPON.

I STAND BEFORE THIS AUGUST CHAMBER AS THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS TO RECOMMEND THE APPROVAL OF SENATE BILL NO. 1620 UNDER COMMITTEE REPORT 171 "AN ACT ABOLISHING THE ROAD BOARD AND TRANSFERRING ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS INCLUDING THE MANAGEMENT OF THE MOTOR VEHICLES USER'S CHARGE FUNDS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH) AND TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (DOTR), AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8794, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE MOTOR VEHICLES USER'S CHARGE."

ON JUNE 27, 2000 REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8794, "AN ACT IMPOSING A MOTOR VEHICLE USER'S CHARGE (MVUC) ON OWNERS OF ALL TYPES OF MOTOR VEHICLES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES", WAS SIGNED INTO LAW.

THE MOTOR VEHICLE USER'S CHARGE WAS SET IN PLACE

1. TO IMPOSE BURDEN ON THOSE THAT IMPOSE THE GREATEST ABRASION OR DETERIORATION ON OUR ROAD SYSTEMS; AND

2. TO IMPOSE PENALTY FOR OVERLOADING - ONE OF THE CAUSES OF THE RAPID DETERIORATION OF OUR ROADS; BEYOND THE BEARING CAPACITY OF SOME ROAD NETWORKS THE MVUC COVERS ALL MOTOR VEHICLES, WHETHER FOR HIRE OR FOR PRIVATE USE, INCLUDING GOVERNMENT MOTOR VEHICLES, CLASSIFIED INTO LIGHT, MEDIUM, OR HEAVY.

THE FUNDING WAS INTENDED FOR

1. ROAD MAINTENANCE AND THE IMPROVEMENT OF ROAD DRAINAGE;

2. INSTALLATION OF ADEQUATE AND EFFICIENT TRAFFIC LIGHTS AND ROAD SAFETY DEVICES; AND

3. AIR POLLUTION CONTROL

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE ROAD BOARD WAS CREATED TO "IMPLEMENT THE PRUDENT AND EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT AND UTILIZATION OF SPECIAL FUNDS."

AS WE KNOW, THE ROAD BOARD IS COMPOSED OF THE

1. DPWH SECRETARY AS EX OFFICIO HEAD

2. DOF SECRETARY

3. DBM SECRETARY

4. DOTC SECRETARY

5. REMAINING THREE MEMBERS SHALL COME FROM PRIVATE SECTORS (TRANSPORT AND MOTORIST ORGANIZATIONS)

THE NEED TO REVISIT THE FUNCTION OF THE ROAD BOARD IS HIGHLY NECESSARY NOT JUST BECAUSE IT HAS BECOME OBSOLETE OVERTIME BUT IT HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF GRAFT AND CORRUPTION IN THE GOVERNMENT.

MR. PRESIDENT, THE PRIMARY ISSUE AGAINST THE ROAD BOARD IS THE IILEGAL UTILIZATION OF ROAD USER'S TAX AS REVEALED IN PAST COMMISSION ON AUDIT REPORTS.

PAST COA REPORTS EXPOSED THE ILLEGAL UTILIZATION OF ROAD USER'S TAX OR THE COLLECTION FROM THE MOTOR VEHICLE USER'S CHARGE (MVUC). THE MVUC COLLECTION FROM 2001 AND 2014 WAS ESTIMATED AT P112.5 BILLION. HOWEVER, THIS FIGURE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FULLY ENJOYED BY THE TAXPAYERS ENDED UP BEING ALLOCATED ELSEWHERE. THIS IS A BIG ANOMALY, MR. PRESIDENT.

1. FOR INSTANCE, COA REPORTED THAT BETWEEN 2004 AND 2008, THE ROAD FUND WAS USED FOR PAYMENT OF SALARIES, ALLOWANCE, MAINTENANCE AND OTHER OPERATING EXPENSES OF THE BOARD. THIS HAPPENED DESPITE THE FACT THAT SUCH EXPENSE WAS ALREADY CHARGEABLE TO THE REGULAR BUDGET. THUS, A TOTAL OF 515.5 MILLION PESOS WAS UNLAWFULLY SPENT BY THE BOARD.

2. FURTHERMORE, A DISCREPANCY AMOUNTING TO 1.495 BILLION PESOS WAS NOTED BY THE COA FROM THE TOTAL COLLECTION OF ROAD USER'S TAX IN 2001 UP TO 2010. SUCH REPORT WAS BACKED UP BY RESPECTIVE CERTIFICATIONS OF THE LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE AND THE BUREAU OF TREASURY.

3. IN 2011, COA REPORTED THAT P62.52 MILLION FUND OF THE ROAD BOARD EARMARKED FOR ROAD MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR WAS INSTEAD USED FOR ITS ENGINEERING AND ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD EXPENSES.

4. COA ALSO REPORTED THAT THERE WERE IRREGULARITIES IN THE BOARD'S EXPENDITURE OF MORE THAN 1.66 BILLION PESOS IN 2013.

5. WHILE IN 2015, FUND TRANSFERS TO VARIOUS NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS, AMOUNTING TO MORE THAN P1 BILLION REMAINED UNLIQUIDATED.

6. MOREOVER, ONLY 80.34% OR P11.5 BILLION OUT OF THE P14.5 BILLION TOTAL ALLOTMENTS FROM THE MVUC FUND WAS OBLIGATED. THUS, AN ALLOTMENT OF P2.8 BILLION FOR ROAD SAFETY, ROAD REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE, AND VEHICLE POLLUTION CONTROL HAVE EXPIRED.

7. ON TOP OF THESE, ONLY 127 OUT OF 520 MVUC PROJECTS PROGRAMMED FOR IMPLEMENTATION IN 2015 WERE COMPLETED.

THESE REPORTS CLEARLY INDICATE THAT THE ROAD BOARD IS JUST ANOTHER LAYER OF BUREAUCRACY. SADLY, THE ROAD BOARD BECAME A SOURCE OF CORRUPTION.

MR. PRESIDENT, THIS HUMBLE REPRESENTATION STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE CALL FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE BOARD. WHEN APPROVED, THE PROPOSAL WILL AFFECT THE MANNER IN WHICH THE COLLECTION OF MONIES FROM ALL MOTOR VEHICLE OWNERS AND ITS DISTRIBUTION WILL BE CARRIED OUT.

WITH THIS, SENATE PRESIDENT PIMENTEL, SEN. ZUBIRI, SEN. GATCHALIAN, SEN. EJERCITO, AND I FILED S.B. NO. 1620, "AN ACT ABOLISHING THE ROAD BOARD AND TRANSFERRING ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS INCLUDING THE MANAGEMENT OF THE MVUC FUNDS TO THE DPWH AND DOTR, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE R.A. 8794"

MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS HIGH TIME TO ABOLISH THE ROAD BOARD TO FURTHER RIGHT-SIZE THE GOVERNMENT AND APPROPRIATE THE AGENCY'S FUNDS DIRECTLY TO THE IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES, THE DPWH AND THE DOTR, TO BEST DELIVER THE SERVICES TO WHICH THE ROAD USER'S TAX IS RIGHTFULLY ALLOCATED, AS PRESCRIBED BY THE LAW.

PURSUANT TO THE ONE-FUND DOCTRINE, ALL FUNDS COLLECTED UNDER THE EXISTING LAW SHALL BE DEPOSITED TO SPECIAL TRUST ACCOUNTS IN THE NATIONAL TREASURY. THE FUNDS WILL REMAIN CREATED FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES AND WILL BE ALLOCATED FOR SUCH PRINCIPLE BUT WITHOUT THE PARTICIPATION OF THE ACTUAL BOARD.

COLLECTED REVENUES, BOTH THE MOTOR VEHICLE USER'S CHARGE AND THE OVERLOADING PENALTY, SHALL REMAIN DEPOSITED INTO FOUR TRUST ACCOUNTS THAT WILL BE DIRECTLY UNDER THE MANAGEMENT AND DISPOSAL OF THE DPWH AND DOTR.

THE SPECIAL ROAD SUPPORT FUND, THE SPECIAL LOCAL ROAD FUND AND THE SPECIAL ROAD SAFETY FUND WILL BE UNDER THE DPWH WHILE THE SPECIAL VEHICLE POLLUTION CONTROL FUND WILL BE UNDER THE DOTR.

ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD LAW AND THIS PROPOSED LEGISLATION IS THE DISTRIBUTION OF COLLECTED FUNDS INTO THESE SPECIAL TRUST ACCOUNTS. WE DEEM IT PROPER TO HIGHLIGHT THE NEED TO SUPPORT LOCAL AND CITY ROADS.

SO INSTEAD OF ALLOCATING 80 PERCENT OF OUR COLLECTED REVENUES TO NATIONAL ROADS ONLY, WE TRIM IT DOWN TO 50 PERCENT AND INCREASE THE ALLOTMENT FOR PROVINCIAL AND CITY ROADS.

THROUGH THIS, WE CAN GUARANTEE THAT EVERY MOTOR VEHICLE OWNER WHO IS BURDENED BY THIS USER'S CHARGE WILL BENEFIT REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY MAY BE IN THE COUNTRY.

IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE FUNDS ARE APPROPRIATELY ALLOCATED AND USED FOR THEIR PURPOSE, THE MVUC SHALL BE MANAGED WITH FULL TRANSPARENCY AND FULL PUBLIC DISCLOSURE. THE DPWH AND DOTR SHALL MAKE AVAILABLE ALL RECORDS OF HOW THE FUNDS ARE UTILIZED AND DISBURSED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAWS.

A PRE-AUDIT AND POST-AUDIT RULES FOR THE PREVENTION, IMPROPER APPLICATION AND DISALLOWANCE OF ILLEGAL, IRREGULAR, EXTRAVAGANT, EXCESSIVE, UNCONSCIONABLE OR UNNECESSARY USE OF THE MVUC FUNDS SHALL BE PROMULGATED.

WITH THIS PROPOSED BILL, THE SECRETARY OF THE DPWH SHALL PREPARE THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO THE SPECIAL ROAD SUPPORT FUND, THE SPECIAL LOCAL ROAD FUND, AND THE SPECIAL ROAD SAFETY FUND.

THE SECRETARY OF THE DOTR SHALL PREPARE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO THE COLLECTION OF THE MVUC STATED UNDER SECTION 3 OF THIS ACT AND ON THE DISPOSITION OF MONIES ACCRUING TO THE SPECIAL VEHICLE POLLUTION CONTROL FUND.

THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS SHALL BE PROMULGATED WITHIN 30 DAYS FROM THE EFFECTIVITY OF THIS ACT. A CLEAR SET OF CRITERIA SHALL BE FORMULATED BY THE DPWH AND THE DOTR.

APART FROM PREPARING THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS AS WELL AS THE CRITERIA FOR FUND ALLOCATION, THEY SHALL LIKEWISE DEVELOP JUDICIAL GUIDELINES AND DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AVAILMENT OF THE FUND ALLOCATION. A REPORT OF WHICH SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS ANNUALLY.

WE WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT UNDER SB NO. 1620, ALL EXISTING PERSONNEL OF THE ROAD BOARD SECRETARIAT WILL BE ABSORBED BY THE DPWH. SECRETARIES OF THE DPWH AND DOTR SHALL BE PROHIBITED FROM CREATING ANOTHER SECRETARIAT AND MAY ONLY BE ASSISTED WITH MINIMAL NUMBER OF STAFF IN THEIR ADMINISTRATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FUND.

MR. PRESIDENT WITH ALL THESE THINGS THAT I HAVE PRESENTED, IT IS HIGH TIME FOR US TO ACT ON SENATE BILL NO. 1620.

DAGHANG SALAMAT UG MAAYONG HAPON SA TANAN.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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