DOTr laments zero funds for road safety programs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) lamented on Wednesday the lack of funds for road safety programs even as it eyes to establish a road safety unit by next year.
During a hearing by the Senate Committee on Public Services, Transportation Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon said the DOTr has allowed authorized private entities to operate motor vehicle inspection system (MVIS) since it has no funds to make it a government project.
“Supposed to be, the DOTr, meron tayo dapat annual budget for road safety. Unfortunately nakalodge ‘yan sa MVUS [Motor Vehicle User’s Charge] funds. Unfortunately, ‘yung past Congress natin tinanggal ‘yung road safety fund doon sa list na dapat may earmarking tayo mula doon sa nako-collect natin sa Motor Vehicle User’s Charge,” he said.
(Supposed to be, the DOTr should have an annual budget for road safety. Unfortunately, it was lodged in MVUS funds. Unfortunately, our previous Congress removed road safety fund in the list earmarked from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge.)
“So now all the funds are going to engineering, ‘yung paggawa ng kalsada [for road constructions]. Wala po tayong annual fund ni piso on [We don’t have annual funds on] road safety,” he added.
He said this also means zero budget to procure breath analyzers, which can be used by traffic authorities to measure the level of blood alcohol concentration in the body of a person suspected of drunk-driving.
He said the DOTr has also spearheaded the Philippine Safety Road Action Plan, a more comprehensive action plan to address road safety concerns, but that no fund is available for the project.
“Unfortunately, wala tayong pondo to fund this [we do not have funds for this],” said De Leon.
Senator Grace Poe, committee chair, meanwhile emphasized the need for the road safety program of the DOTr to be allocated with sufficient funds.
“It has to be a priority kasi [because] prevention and safety should be paramount in the transportation system that we have,” she said. /jpv
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