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Senate passes bill for Road Board abolition

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By Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

The measure that would abolish the graft-ridden Road Board hurdled the Senate on Monday.

Voting 18-0, senators have agreed to approve on third and final reading Senate Bill 1620 which would 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).

Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, author of the measure and chair of the Senate Committee on Public Works, said it is the measure’s approval would contribute in the streamlining of government bureaucracy and improve delivery of services to commuters.

“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 law,” Pacquiao said.

Once approved by President Duterte, the legislation would terminate the Road Board which was created under Republic Act (RA) 8794 and was mandated to “implement the prudent and efficient management and utilization of special funds,” including the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) collected from motorists.

In effect, it would affect “the manner in which the collection of monies from all motor vehicle owners and its distribution would be carried out,” Pacquiao said.

Under the Senate-approved bill, the management of the said funds shall be transferred to the DPWH and the DOTr, and that all funds collected under the existing law “should be deposited to special trust accounts in the national treasury.”

MVUC collections shall be distributed under the following funds: Special Road Support Fund (80 percent), the Special Local Road Fund (5 percent), the Special Road Safety Fund (7.5 percent) and the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund (7.5 percent).

“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,” Pacquao said.

He added that while the bill would mandate that the existing workers of the Road Board Secretariat be absorbed by the DPWH, the DPWH and the DOTr are proscribed from creating a new such secretariat, “and may only be assisted by a minimal number of staff in their administration and implementation of this act.”

Pacquiao said that the reforms under the proposed act are meant to address issues surrounding the Road Board, which “had become a source of corruption.”

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