If Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian has his way, he would have the Road Board abolished following the recent Commission on Audit or COA report, which uncovered irregularities in the use of more than P1.66 billion in funds.
The Road Board is an agency created by law to spend the billions of pesos in Motor Vehicle User’s Charge or MVUC or the so-called road user’s tax collected by the Land Transportation Office from vehicle owners.
In its 2013 audit of the Road Board, the COA found that the board spent P319 million in various infrastructure projects nationwide, which violated provisions of Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Related News: Gatchalian filed a bill on Road Board Abolition
Earlier, Gatchalian filed House Bill No. 3434 that seeks to scrap the Road Board and to transfer its task of managing the road user’s tax to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communication or DOTC.
“Since it is the DPWH and the DOTC that handle the funds generated by the motor vehicle user’s charge or MVUC , it should be appropriate and practical to delegate the function of the law to the two departments,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on local government, said removing the Road Board and assigning its functions to DPWH and DOTC would prevent corrupt practices that may take place.
“HB 3434 would prevent the wastage on time and resources which our country is frantic to save so that every Filipino, especially those in far-flung barangays, may feel the trickle-down effect of our growing economy.”
The MVUC or road user’s tax is the government’s third-biggest source of tax revenues, mandated through Republic Act No. 8794, which allocates special road funds to be spent exclusively for road maintenance is currently being handled by the Road Board.
Once enacted, Gatchalian’s bill would direct the DPWH and DOTC secretaries to come up with new implementing rules and regulations for the collection and disbursement of the road user’s tax. It would also prohibit the two department heads from creating another secretariat to oversee the funds’ use.
Gatchalian noted pointed out that the COA, for several years now, continue to uncover irregularities in the Road Board, particularly the agency’s non-compliance with the provisions of R.A. 9184 and its implementing rules and regulations when it comes to the procurement of infrastructure projects and equipment.
Among the suspicious transactions that the COA uncovered in 2013 was the payment of the performance security bond of a private contractor for a P62-million project in the National Capital Region even before the firm was given a notice of award.
Four other infrastructure projects of the Board in Metro Manila totaling P104 million did not include the value-added tax or VAT computation in their bids required by law.
The Road Board’s technical working group or TWG and BAC accepted the bids “from lowest to highest without taking into account the VAT component,” a news report quoted COA as saying.
Also, disbursements of several officials of the DPWH worth P276 million were not covered by appropriate documents to “establish propriety, validity and legality of the transactions.”
“In abolishing the Road Board, we are removing a layer of the bureaucracy and making the system efficient and prompt in its service to the people,” concluded Gatchalian, a leading member of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition. (R. Burgos)