HOUSE Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. yesterday welcomed President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s call for Congress to work on genuine abolition of the controversial Road Board.
During President Duterte’s visit to the Bicol region, Andaya, the chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said the President spelled out the need to use proceeds of the road user’s tax or the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC) in helping calamity victims.
“With the President’s latest instructions, the bill being pushed by the Senate and the previous House leadership on road board abolition is dead in the water. He wants total road board abolition, not fake abolition. The utilization of MVUC in the bill is complete opposite of what the President wants,” said Andaya, averring that the version approved by Congress and rescinded by the House of Representatives last September 12 was a fake bill on Road Board abolition.
With this, Andaya said the House of Representatives will “designate the members of our contingent to the bicameral conference committee on our first session day next year, on January 14” to finish the job of abolishing the Road Board.
“This makes the proposed bicameral conference committee on the bill more urgent and indispensable,” said Andaya. “In the bicam, we have to ensure that all proceeds from the MVUC form part of the General Fund. We want to strip MVUC collections of its status as a hidden off-budget item that will be spent by one person in an untransparent way.”
“The proceeds need to be included as a line-item fund in the annual budget of the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). This way, the real and full funding level of the DPWH is reflected clearly, unlike today when MVUC spending is segregated and treated as a non-national budget expenditure,” Andaya explained.
“As I explained earlier, the present House leadership advocates the 100-percent dismantling of the Road Board. We do not want its powers to be merely transferred to three secretaries who will in effect be Three Road Kings who can spend the MVUC at will,” said Andaya.
He reiterated that the approved version merely transfers the management and control of Road Board funds from a seven-man to three-department setup composed of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The Road Board controls funds collected from the MVUC solely for road maintenance and drainage improvement, the installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and monitoring of air pollution.