House OKs Road Board abolition bill on final reading
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously gave its nod to House Bill No. 7436, which seeks to abolish the graft-tainted Road Board and remit all collections from the road user’s tax to the National Treasury.
The chamber approved the bill on third and final reading with a vote of 180-0-0. It was approved on second reading last Wednesday. House rules, however, require three session days before any measure could be approved on final reading unless certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte. HB 7436 was not certified as urgent by the President.
Nevertheless, the bill’s approval faced no objection during Monday’s session.
Former Majority Leader and Camarines Sur 1st Dist. Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said they agreed on the abolition of the Road Board and remittance of collections from road user’s tax to the National Treasury.
Andaya and Zubiri also agreed to use the tax revenues for construction, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage under the annual General Appropriations Act.
Andaya also said they expect to hold a bicameral conference committee meeting with the Senate soon to tackle the Road Board issue.
Under Republic Act No. 8794, the funds garnered from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) should be earmarked solely and used exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of adequate and efficient traffic lights and road safety devices, as well as for air pollution control.
From 2001 to May 2018, the total collection from MVUC reached P166.18 billion, with full releases amounting to P136.87 billion, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
In 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte called on Congress to abolish the Road Board and transfer its functions to the appropriate department. /kga