HOUSE Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. yesterday said that proceeds from the road user’s tax or the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) will go to the general fund for the reconstruction of calamity-hit areas as requested by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.
Andaya, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, said they would work on genuine abolition of the Road Board to guarantee that MVUC will be itemized for transparency in the proposed national budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“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,” Andaya assured.
“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 after President Duterte’s visit to Bicol region and cited the need to use proceeds of MVUC in helping calamity victims.
In a related development, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has called on his fellow Bicolanos to fully support last week’s decision of President Duterte to have the Road Board abolished and its funds used in part for flood control projects in disaster-prone areas of the Bicol region.
“I call on my fellow Bicolanos to give their 100-percent backing to President Duterte’s decision to abolish the graft-ridden Road Board, more so after his commitment in Camarines Sur last week to put the Board’s multibillion-peso funds to better use, particularly for flood-control projects in the disaster-prone region,” said Villafuerte.
Villafuerte, a former three-term governor of Camarines Sur, said the province is Bicol’s lowest-lying area, making it a catch basin from floodwaters coming from other provinces whenever typhoons strike the region.
During a situation briefing held in Pili, Camarines Sur in the aftermath of tropical depression Usman, Villafuerte suggested to President Duterte that a viable solution to this perennial problem is the dredging and desilting of the Bicol River.
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.
He reiterated that the approved version merely transfers the management and control of Road Board funds from a seven-man to a three-department body made up 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 air pollution.