By Ben R. Rosario
A congressman is seeking the abolition of the Road Board in the wake of audit reports showing that the body has nearly P1 billion in unaccounted funds and expenditures.
COOP Natcco Party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo filed House Bill 3855 to abolish the Road Board which, under Republic Act 8794, is tasked to implement the proper and efficient use of the special funds collected from motor vehicle owners through the motor vehicle users charge. The board has collected over P112 billion from motor vehicle owners since its creation over a decade ago.
Bravo said the huge amounts in taxes that the Road Board has the power to spend can be put to better use if the money goes either to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“The need to curb instances of fund misuse, misappropriation, and general graft and corruption in the agency necessitates no less than the abolition of this regulatory agency which has been viewed by many as milking cow of some unscrupulous individuals,” he said.
The party-list solon added: “Its funds would be better utilized if such are rechanneled to the DPWH and the DOTr which will both implement road safety measures and projects.”
Bravo, a senior member of the House opposition bloc, explained that the Road Board was supposed to spend the road users’ tax for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of adequate and efficient traffic lights and road safety devices, as well as air pollution control.
However, in the 2014 COA audit report, the agency revealed that the Road Board failed to ensure the use of P199 million worth of motor vehicle pollution inspection devices purchased during the year by the Land Transportation Office.
“Instead, the Road Board financed infrastructure projects that were beyond its mandated functions while other projects were either delayed or not implemented at all despite the release of funds,” the opposition solon noted.
According to Bravo, the Road Board has yet to account for approximately P415 million in MVUC funds that had been suspended and disallowed by the COA because of violations of the policies on the use of public funds.
“COA also noted that P463 million of the MVUC funds have remained unliquidated for more than three years after the funds were released to the Road Board,” he disclosed.
In his bill, Bravo sought the amendment of Section 7 of RA 8794 by abolishing the Road Board and transferring its powers and functions to the DPWH or to the DOTr.