By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators have accepted on Wednesday the proposed amendments to the measure that would abolish the Road Board.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said his colleagues approved the proposed revision of the Senate-adopted House bill dissolving the controversial agency during a meeting Wednesday.
“Yes, Sen. Ralph [Recto] and I have presented and they all accepted,” Zubiri confirmed to reporters in a text message.
Recto and Zubiri on Tuesday night met House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to hear the Lower Chamber’s propositions in calling for a bicameral conference committee meeting on the plan to abolish the Road Board.
The three Congress leaders, in their informal meeting, have agreed to make only “short and simple” amendments.
The amendments, according to Zubiri, include the remittance of the collections from the road user’s tax to the National Treasury. They also agreed that the fund be used for the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and road drainage; and be included in the scrutiny of the annual General Appropriations Act.
“And to abolish road board, period,” Zubiri added.
With the senators’ concurrence to the said amendments, the Senate is now expected to withdraw its adoption of the House of Representatives’ House Bill No. 7436, to be able to convene the bicam panel that would harmonize the bills of the two Congress chambers on the Road Board’s abolition.
Zubiri, on the other hand, said it would only be a “paper bicam” wherein Senate and House contingents would only sign on the agreed amendments.
The Senate, last September, adopted the House version to dispense the need for a bicameral conference committee and speed up the abolition of the Road Board. Shortly after the adoption, however, the House rescinded the approval of its own bill on third reading.