COA flags abolished agency’s tax collection, lighting project flaws
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the recently-abolished Road Board for its inefficient monitoring of collections from the road user’s tax, as well as its poor implementation of the P3.549-billion national road lighting program (NRLP).
In its report, COA bared that the controversial Road Board “was not able to carry out efficiently its mandate of monitoring the collections and deposits of MVUC (Motor Vehicle User’s Charge) funds… due to lack of manpower resulting in unaccounted unreconciled balance of P1.237 billion…” as of December 31, 2018.
According to COA, the unreconciled balance pertains to collections and remittances from 2014 to 2018.
The Road Board pointed out that due to the abolition of the office, the contract of the personnel who is assigned to reconcile the MVUC collections was no longer renewed.
Road lighting project
Meanwhile, the report said that the NRLP packages 6 to 10 implemented by the Road Board with the Department of Public Works and Highways for a total budget of P3.549 billion has not fully achieved its objective of providing modern lighting for the country’s national roads due to “poor planning, inadequate guidelines, and insufficient monitoring and supervision schemes employed.”
These failures, COA said, resulted in either delayed implementation of the projects, non-construction or poorly constructed lamp posts without luminaires, non-conformity with specifications, busted and non-functioning luminaires, and uninstalled luminaires.
Of the 23,560 lamp posts to be installed by DPWH, only 19,328 lamp posts were actually installed while the remaining 4,232 were suspended due to permit, wiring and other issues, according to COA.
The report also said that in the 13 locations COA inspected, 72 luminaires were not installed, 732 were found busted and 233 were not functioning at all.
The Republic Act No. 8794 created the Road Board and the MVUC funds which 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 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 due to alleged corruption issues.
The President approved Republic Act No. 11239 abolishing the Road Board on March 8, 2019.
The law took effect on April 3. /gsg
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