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Drilon: Let the President decide on Road Board abolition

/ 03:19 PM December 17, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Congress should let President Rodrigo President decide on the measure seeking to abolish the corruption-plagued Road Board, Senator Franklin Drilon said on Monday.

“The bill should be sent immediately to the President’s desk for his action. We should let the President decide. It is a political decision,” Drilon said in a statement.

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“Since the Senate already adopted the House version,” Drilon explained, “the House lost jurisdiction over the bill and could no longer validly reconsider its approval of the measure which will abolish the Road Board.”

The Senate passed Senate Bill 1620 which seeks the Road Board’s abolition in February. The lower chamber for its part approved House Bill 7436 in May.

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READ: House passes bill abolishing Road Board

On Sept. 12, the Senate adopted HB 7436 and replaced SB 1620 with the lower House’s bill, thus dispensing the need for a bicameral conference between the two Houses to reconcile disparate versions of the proposal.

Later the same day, however, the lower House passed a motion that voided its version of the proposed measure, placing the Road Board abolition in limbo.

Drilon said the abolition of the Road Board was “critical in the government’s fight against corruption.” He stressed that the body “has become a breeding ground for corruption and inefficiency.”

The Commission on Audit (COA) over the past years has consistently flagged the board for non-compliance in the utilization of the funds from the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC), Drilon noted.

Last week, the Senate, upon Drilon’s motion, unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Office of the President to order the Road Board not to release funds from the MVUC, following the passage by both houses of Congress of the bill which would abolish the Road Board.

READ: Senate wants gov’t to stop releasing funds from road users’ tax

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Under the law, the funds 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 for MVUC reached P166.18 billion, with total releases amounting to P136.87 billion, according to Drilon.

In 2017, the President called on Congress to abolish the Road Board and transfer its functions to the appropriate department. /ee

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