Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Koko Pimentel III | posted February 04, 2016 12:38
Road Board allegedly mismanaged funds in the millions of pesos
Ever wonder where the money collected for the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) goes?
Well, so do Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and the team from the Commission on Audit (COA) who have been trying to determine how the Php 90.72 billion MVUC collected between 2001 to 2012 was spent?
Senator Pimentel, yesterday, sought to abolish the allegedly ‘graft-ridden’ Road Board that has been tasked to collect the MVUC or Road User’s Tax, which is for the upkeep, maintenance and the development of all roads around the country.
According to Senator Pimentel, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, the Road Board is simply an added ‘layer of bureaucracy’ that has become ridden with graft and corruption.
”By abolishing this regulatory agency, the public funds will be rechanneled to the proper government agencies such as the DPWH and the DOTC,” said Pimentel.
On their website, the Road Board declares their mission as the ‘responsibility to ensure and oversee the optimum utilization of resources for the maintenance and improvement of a safe, efficient, and environmentally balanced road network’.
Past findings by COA however, shows that the Road Board has been allotting a portion of the collections from 2001 to December 2012 amounting to Php 90.72 billion for other unauthorized expenses.
Reports indicate that, for calendar year 2004-2008, the Php 414.50 million of MVUC collected was used by the Road Board for the payment of salaries, allowances, maintenance, and other operating expenses of the agency.
From 2001 to 2010, COA reports that there were inconsistencies in the Road Board’s accounting of the MVUC that amounted to Php 1.495 billion after comparing it with certifications issued by the Land Transportation Office and the Bureau of Treasury.
In 2011, a COA report also indicated that funds earmarked for road maintenance and repair amounting to Php 62.52 million were instead used for the agency’s engineering and administrative expenses.
The most recent COA finding, according to Pimentel, points to discrepancies in the disbursement of funds amounting to Php 1.66 billion.
Senate Bill No. 3131 filed by Pimentel early this year seeks to amend the Republic Act (R.A. No. 8794) that established the Road Board by simply having the MVUC collected to be deposited in four special trust accounts in the National Treasury.
These accounts are the Special Road Support Fund, Special Local Road Fund and the Special Road Safety Fund that will be handled by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund managed by the DPWH in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).