The amended Road Board abolition bill the House of Representatives approved on second reading on Wednesday limits the use of billions collected from the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC), otherwise known as road user’s tax, to road projects.
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‘Road Board funds not for disasters, relief’
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte cannot use Road Board funds to help disaster-stricken communities or rehabilitate Manila Bay, as his spokesman claims the Chief Executive plans to do if a new law is passed.

The amended Road Board abolition bill the House of Representatives approved on second reading on Wednesday limits the use of billions collected from the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC), otherwise known as road user’s tax, to road projects.

Section 1 of Bill 7436 provides that MVUC collections “shall be remitted to the national treasury under a special account in the general fund to be earmarked solely for the construction, upgrading, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and road drainage to be included in the annual general appropriations act.”

Another provision specifically states that the corruption-tainted road agency is abolished.

Before the House revised the bill, garbage collection was among projects that could be funded from MVUC collections.

Lawmakers decided to stick to the original intention of the law imposing the road user’s tax: that the levy be used for road projects.

The present law provides that part of the money be allocated for vehicle pollution control, but Bill 7436 no longer includes this.

The tax is in the form of a 100 percent increase in annual registration fees for millions of motor vehicles.

According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the four MVUC trust funds have a combined balance of at least P45 billion.

Since Bill 7436 mandates that the disposition of the funds be included in the proposed annual budget, lawmakers would have the final say on the use of the money.

At present, they recommend projects to be funded by the Road Board. In the wake of the utilization restriction contained in the bill, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte urged his colleagues in Congress “to set aside a share of the multi-billion-peso collections for flood mitigation projects, particularly in Bicol, as has been committed by President Duterte no less.”

He recalled that the President made the pledge early this month during his visits to areas in Bicol damaged by Typhoon Usman.

He said solving the flooding problem of Bicol “will give a big boost to farm productivity in Camarines Sur and other areas in the region.”

“Despite the perennial floods, CamSur has emerged as the No. 6 rice producer. We could easily become No. 2 or No. 3 if the chronic floods will become a thing of the past,” he said.

RELIEF DISASTERS MANILA BAY MOTOR VEHICLE USER’S CHARGE ROAD BOARD
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