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Sen. Gatchalian reveals Road Board corruption attempts

MANILA, Philippines – The capital’s flagship thoroughfare Roxas Boulevard runs parallel to the iconic Manila Bay sunset, 18 February 2017, mirroring the dynamism of the national economy. Senator Win Gatchalian recently reiterated his call for the abolition of the Road Board to eradicate redundancy with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr). (Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN)

Sen. Win Gatchalian has renewed his call for the abolition of the Road Board as he revealed previous attempts by road project contractors to induce him into committing corrupt acts while he was a local government official.

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Works, Gatchalian revealed that several contractors approached him during his tenure as mayor and congressman of Valenzuela City and offered to “facilitate” with the Road Board the funding for repair and maintenance works on the city’s streets.

“The contractors approached me and said, ‘There is money in the Road Board. You only have to give me a signed letter and I will build you a P50 million road.’ Of course, I knew what they meant. If I had availed of the funding, the next step would have been a meeting on how to split the fund,” Gatchalian said.

“I rejected the offers. I did not avail of the special road funds. I was stunned by their audacity but I was not interested in their offers,” he told representatives of the Road Board who attended the committee hearing.

Gatchalian lamented that “the Road Board has become a venue for graft and corruption of abusive government officials” at the expense of critical road projects that remain unfunded and yet to be constructed.

Aside from corruption issues, Gatchalian also stressed that the Road Board should be abolished because its functions are redundant to the mandates of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The Road Board, a creation of Republic Act 8794, is tasked with the management and utilization of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC), which is imposed on vehicle owners and earmarked solely and used exclusively for the maintenance and repair of local and national roads, pollution control, and safety works.

To remove the redundancy, Gatchalian is proposing that administration of the MVUC should be delegated to the DPWH and DOTr, which he pointed out are the major implementing agencies for road maintenance projects and safety measures.

The senator has filed Senate Bill No. 986 seeking the abolition of the Road Board and the re-assignment of its mandate to the DPWH and the DOTr.