House bows to Duterte

December 22, 2018
Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte

THE House of Representatives respects the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the abolition of the Road Board.

Following Duterte’s stand, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya said the House members will act according to the guidance of the President.

“The President has spoken. We heard his message to the House. We will act based on his guidance,” Andaya said.

“As an institution, we will heed the President’s call. All is well. The public, however, needs to understand not just the abolition but also what I sought after that,” he added.

Andaya had been insisting that President Duterte is not in favor of the Road Board abolition. In fact, Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez said the improvement of the Motor Vehicle Users Charge (MVUC) collections is one of the top priorities of the Duterte administration.

But two days ago, Duterte through his spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he wanted to get rid of the Road Board due to alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, Andaya said if the President wants the abolition of the road board let it be a “real abolition, no residues, no Three Road Kings.”

According to Andaya, House Bill 7436, which was passed under the leadership of  ousted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, does not really call for the abolition of the Road Board but only for changing its composition.

Andaya said the House supports putting proceeds from the MVUC into the General Fund.

“Not an off budget item that will be spent by one person in an untransparent way,” he said.

“The proceeds need to be included as a line-item fund in the annual budget of the DPWH in the General Appropriations Act. 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,” the House leader added.

Andaya also stressed that solons also prefer that non-road user activities like garbage collection be stricken off the spending menu.

“If the President will send a better bill and certify it as urgent, the House, convinced of its merits, will approve it without delay,” Andaya said.

And with this latest development, Andaya said the committee on rules will focus its inquiry on the alleged P25 billion budget insertions and “parked” pork.