House minority opposes abolition of Road Board

MANILA -- The minority bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday opposed the proposal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to abolish the controversial Road Board, reiterating that it carries out functions that are beneficial to the motoring public.

In a press conference Wednesday, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said the alleged irregularities in the Road Board, particularly the alleged misuse of funds in the past, were due to the implementing agency.

Suarez added that the allegations of fund misuse pertained to the transactions of the previous administration.

"The Road Board is the product of a well-crafted and well-intentioned law, but like a majority of our laws, the real problem is the implementing agency," he said.

Suarez, one of the authors of the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC) Law, said the Road Board was created to ensure proper maintenance of national and provincial roads, and for the safety of the motoring public.

He believes that since the Road Board is now under a new leadership, the necessary reforms will be rolled out.

After the Speaker's call, the Road Board stated that it is now under the control and supervision of the Office of the President 'to prevent dissipation of MVUC (Motor Vehicle User's Charge) funds and malfeasance of public officials', Suarez said.

Moreover, it has already coordinated with the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to conduct an investigation and to file legal cases against those who have counterfeited public documents to facilitate fund transfer, he added.

The Road Board was created under the MVUC law, which imposed a motor vehicle users' charge on owners of all types of motor vehicles.

Under RA 8794, the Road Board is tasked to implement the prudent and efficient management and utilization of the special funds.

All revenues collected from the MVUC are earmarked solely and exclusively for the maintenance of roads and improvement of drainages to prevent flooding; installation of adequate and efficient traffic lights and other road safety devices; and air pollution control.

For his part, Kabayan Partylist Rep. Harry Roque said the main problem of the Road Board is rampant corruption, as he stressed the need for the agency to clean up its ranks to put an end to the misuse of funds.

Roque also suggested expanding the coverage of the road tax usage.

Earlier, Alvarez pushed for the abolition of the Road Board to prevent the misuse of billions of pesos of the road user's tax.

Alvarez filed House Bill No. 6236 that seeks to abolish the Road Board and transfer its functions to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Source: Philippine News Agency