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House mulls Road Board abolition

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives is considering the abolition of an obscure but well-funded government agency called the Road Board.       

“We have a consensus to abolish it and transfer its functions to the Department of Public Works and Highways. It is a redundant agency. It duplicates the job of the DPWH,” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said yesterday.

He said the board has an annual budget of P10 billion to P12 billion, which comes from vehicle registration fees that were doubled under the law that created the agency in 2000.

The entire 100-percent increase in fees goes to the Road Board directly, he added, and does not pass through the national treasury. Since the adjustment was spread over four years, funding for the office gradually went up to its present level.

Albano pointed out that since 2000, the board has received at least P70 billion.

“Where is that huge sum now? Has it all been used up? What accomplishments does this agency have to show for billions in disbursements?” he asked.

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He said the principal task of the board is road maintenance, “which is also the job of the DPWH.”

“But unlike the DPWH, it does not have maintenance crews. All it does is to award contracts to private contractors. There is always a beeline of contractors in its office.”

Albano explained that the “so-called road re-blocking projects in Metro Manila and the provinces belong to the road agency.”

“Because they have to spend their money, they dig up even stretches of concrete roads that do not need repair. You often hear of complaints that good roads are being torn apart by contractors,” he said.

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