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Duterte sides with Senate: Time to junk Road Board

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MANILA, Philippines — The debate over what to do with the controversial Road Board is all but over: President Duterte wants it abolished.

“I agree with the others and the senators that it is time to abolish it and return its function to the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways),” Duterte said at the change-of-command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“I believe that the Senate has decided the right thing and has stated that the Road Board must be dismantled,” he said.

The Senate has locked horns with the House of Representatives over the latter’s opposition to the abolition of the Road Board, long plagued by corruption allegations.

Last Tuesday, the Senate transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature a bill abolishing the Road Board.

On the same day that the Senate adopted the House version of the bill on Sept. 12, the lower House passed a motion voiding its version of the bill passed during the time of former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. The current House leadership led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is against the abolition of the Road Board.

The Road Board’s task is to oversee collections from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC). The amount is supposedly for use exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights, and road safety facilities.

The Commission on Audit has, however, cited the misuse of the MVUC.

In his speech, Duterte denied House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.’s claim that he had agreed during a dinner meeting to retain the Road Board.

Duterte said he had a talk with Arroyo “and apparently there was misunderstanding because all along I really wanted to abolish the Road [Board].”

“Andaya says now that it should be maintained. No. Nagkamali sila doon (they made a mistake there). My feelings about that board was at the strongest against (it) being there.”

Earlier yesterday, Andaya said the House of Representatives, under Alvarez, did not abolish the corruption-tainted Road Board.

He said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno “is giving alternative facts to the President” on the bill that supposedly sought the abolition of the controversial agency.

“The bill, I repeat, will not abolish the Road Board. There is no mention of abolition anywhere in the bill,” he said.

Diokno had said the President was supporting the initiative of the House under Alvarez to scrap the board and has directed him not to release any money from collections amounting to P45 billion.

A Road Board list of requests and projects given by Andaya to the media showed that scores of lawmakers and regional directors and district engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have requested for the release of P5.3 billion, mostly for asphalting projects.

On Sept. 12, the House, under Arroyo, rescinded its approval of Bill 7436.

The measure is titled, “An Act abolishing the Road Board and providing for the distribution of the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC) collections, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 8794,” though Andaya claimed it did not seek the agency’s abolition.

RA 8794 is the law imposing the MVUC and creating the Road Board. MVUC is in the form of increased annual registration fees of motor vehicles.

Bill 7436, authored principally by Alvarez and former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas, was sent to the Senate last May 17. Four months later, on Sept. 12, the Senate adopted the bill without amendments upon learning that the House would recall its approval of it.


The status of the measure is now unclear. But presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has said President Duterte would sign any abolition bill that reaches his desk.

Asked whether the House would stick to its withdrawal of its approval of the Road Board abolition bill, Arroyo said, “I have to consult the President on that.”

Andaya said the Alvarez-Fariñas bill sought to create “three powerful road kings” in the secretaries of DPWH, Department of Transportation and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“HB 7436 confers to the three road kings the absolute power to disburse the road users’ tax. Each will have dictatorial powers over the funds. No oversight. The money will be off budget and there will be no transparency in its use,” he said.

He challenged Diokno to a public debate “so that our people will really know who is telling the truth with regard to HB 7436.”

He also said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in a Sept. 20 letter to Arroyo on the administration’s priority legislative measures, did not mention the abolition of the Road Board.



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11 hours ago, Dafey said:

The Senate has locked horns with the House of Representatives over the latter’s opposition to the abolition of the Road Board, long plagued by corruption allegations.

Does the last clause, 'long plagued by corruption,' refer to the road board, the House,  or the Senate?

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Its only corruption if they aren't getting their cut...

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51 minutes ago, SkyMan said:

Does the last clause, 'long plagued by corruption,' refer to the road board, the House,  or the Senate?


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