Bill won’t completely abolish Road Board: Andaya

MANILA -- House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Wednesday said the measure scrapping the Road Board will not completely abolish the corruption-plagued agency, but would instead create "Three-Road Kings."

In a press conference, Andaya said the rescinded House Bill 7436 grants the secretaries of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Department of Environment and Resources (DENR) absolute power over the motor vehicle user's charge (MVUC) collections.

The current law provides that the funds shall be managed and disbursed by the DPWH, DOTr, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and three private sector representatives.

"Yung House Bill na pinipilit na ipasa ng Senado hindi naman po ina-abolish dito yung Road Board. Ginagawa lang nila, from a seven-man Road Board, ginagawa nilang Three-Road Kings. Mas pinapadali pa nga nila yung sabihin natin, yung pag release. Puwede sigurocorruption din ang puwedeng mangyari (The House Bill which the Senate is insisting to pass won't totally abolish the Road Board. What actually happens is that the seven-man Road Board would be replaced by Three-Road Kings. It even makes it easier [for funds] to be released. Corruption could still occur)," Andaya said.

Andaya said under the bill, the MVUC collected will not go to the general fund but would still remain as a special trust fund. This is contrary to the claim of DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno who said the funds will now be appropriated by Congress.

"It is under the management and disposal of three cabinet secretaries, namely Public Works, yung DENR at yung DOTr. Sila lang po ang may hawak at may poder na i-release ang pondo na iyan. Wala pong kinalaman ang Kongreso dito (They have the sole authority to release those funds. Congress does not have any control over it)," Andaya said.

He noted that 80 percent of the collections will be controlled by the DPWH Secretary, 10 percent by the DOTr Secretary, and 10 percent by the DENR Secretary.

He said the bill also creates new-spending criteria for garbage collection, waste disposal, and solid waste program.

He said this is off-tangent to MVUC's philosophy that registration fees paid by car owners should be spent for road transportation projects.

"Wala naman pong koneksiyon ang garbage collection sa buwis na binabayaran po natin sa pagrehistro ng kotse (Garbage collection has nothing to do with the tax we pay for car registration)," Andaya said.

"It has nothing to do with abolition but actually enabling 'three kings' to hold and dispose of these funds," he added.

On September 12, Andaya moved to rescind its third reading approval of House Bill No. 7436, saying the chamber "will no longer pursue its passage." No objection was raised, and the plenary approved his motion.

Prior to the rescission, the Senate has already adopted the House version of the bill on the same day.

MalacaAang said President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the bill into law as soon as it is submitted to him.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace is still against the release of the PHP45-billion road user's tax.

However, Andaya claimed that he and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a chance to talk to the President before withdrawing the approval of the bill abolishing the Road Board.

Andaya disclosed that Duterte has agreed to retain the agency under the stewardship of Executive Director Chito Clavano.

Speaker and I personally asked the President as to his stand on the Road Board. All of us agreed to allow it to exist under the stewardship of Mr. Chito Clavano, who earlier resigned but whose resignation was rejected by PRRD, Andaya said in a separate statement.

It is with this policy direction that the HOR withdrew the proposal to abolish the road board, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency