Upcoming bicam to prepare final version

The House of Representatives has recently approved a bill seeking to abolish the Road Board.

The Road Board, established by Republic Act 8794 also known as “An Act Imposing a Motor Vehicle User’s Charge on Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles and Other Users”, is in charge of collecting funds (via the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge [MVUC] collected with every vehicle’s registration) and responsible for ensuring adequate maintenance of the nation's roads, along with the “utilization of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC)”.

House Bill 7436 seeks to put the Road Board’s projects and expenditures under the annual budget of the DPWH in order to more closely monitor its projects and progress. This comes following a recent finding from the Commission on Audit that said the MVUCs were being misappropriated, making it vulnerable to corruption. Upon this discovery, President Rodrigo Duterte called for the abolition of the board, late last year.

“We are in support of putting proceeds from the MVUC as part of the General Fund. Not an off-budget item that will be spent by one person in an 'untransparent' way”, said House Majoritly Leader, Rolando Andaya, Jr.

“The proceeds need to be included as a line-item fund in the annual budget of the DPWH in the General Appropriations Act. 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”.

The Senate has already adopted a previous House version of the bill on Sept. 12. The House, however, led by then Speaker, Pantaleon Alvarez, passed a motion voiding its version of the bill. The Senate had opted to retain the bill.

Now that both House and Senate have their own versions of the bill, a contingent of the House of Representatives in the coming bicameral conference committee will be ready to sit down with senators, when to discuss President Duterte’s directive to abolish the Road Board. Once the final bill is prepared, it only requires the President’s signature to become a law.

With this new move, the DPWH shall assume the duties of the Road Board, along with its records, properties, assets, equipment, and funds of the Road Board, including unexpended appropriations and allocations. Employees of the Road Board are then entitled to receive separation benefits under the provisions of RA 6656, also known as “An Act to Protect the Security of Tenure of Civil Service Officers and Employees in the Implementation of the Government Reorganization”. Those qualified for retirement are also entitled to benefits as well.

Even if the Road Board is abolished, the MVUC shall continue to be collected with each vehicle's registration. Its appropriation will now be more closely monitored as a part of the national budget expenditure.