By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Congress leaders have agreed to implement “short and simple” amendments to the proposed abolition of the Road Board including remitting collections of the board from road user’s tax directly to the National Treasury.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya met Tuesday night to work on the measures that will dissolve the graft-ridden agency.
Zubiri said their discussion was “successful” and sent reporters a photo of them together in a hotel in Makati City.
“We agreed that the amendments will be short and simple,” he told reporters in a text message.
Zubiri said the fund collected from the road user’s tax shall then be used for the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and road drainage and will be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
This means that Congress would have to scrutinize the disbursement of the road user’s tax, “just like all the projects and programs of government,” Zubiri said. “And to abolish road board, period,” he stressed.
Zubiri said he would relay to other senators the matters they have agreed upon on Wednesday.
He believes his colleagues will agree to recall the Senate’s adoption of the House bill on the Road Board abolition to be able to take up the said amendments.
“I’m sure we will all agree to the recall and quick bicam to approve these (sic) amendments,” Zubiri said.
The Senate earlier maintained that its adoption of the House version of the measure dispenses the need for a bicameral meeting since there are no more disagreeing provisions.
But senators remained open to the Lower Chamber’s propositions for the measure, specifically on how the road user’s tax will be utilized.
In September last year, the House of Representatives rescinded the final approval of its House Bill No. 7436 that seeks to abolish the Road Board, shortly after the Senate adopted its version.