The House of Representatives committees on government reorganization and public works and highways have approved the substitute bill abolishing the Road Board, which is being hounded by allegations of corruption.
In a statement on Sunday, the committees wrote “corruption attendant to the use of the funds through the Road Board was magnified after some lawmakers complained of alleged kickbacks being demanded by some unscrupulous officials of the Board,” which House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself had confirmed.
“I have no reason to doubt the statements of the Speaker, as well as those of my colleagues who were approached for kickbacks,” Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, chair of the committee on government reorganization, said.
The panel said the measure would “pave the way for a more transparent and proactive utilization of funds collected through the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC).”
The Road Board is mandated to oversee funds from MVUC, which is supposed to be used exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control.
However, past Commission on Audit (COA) reports flagged certain irregularities in the use of the MVUC funds, such as the use of P515.15 million for salaries, allowances, and maintenance and other operating expenses, and other irregularities in the expenditure of more than P1.66 billion in funds.
Romualdo said under the new bill, the management of funds for road projects would now be under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), while the management of funds for pollution control would be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“The funds will thus already be with the implementing agencies themselves. This will lead to a more efficient use of the funds for projects that will benefit the public,” Romualdo said.