As road accidents exponentially increase every year, with the latest tally from January to April 2015 reaching 26,903 (based on the Road Crash Statistics Report of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), Senator Ralph Recto has called on the efficient use of the road user’s tax in order to save lives or at least curb the rising trend of road accidents.
Happening at a rate of 224 accidents per day in the first 120 days of the year, this alarming rate has prompted Recto to ask for an itemized breakdown of what is formally known as the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) in order to see how concerned government agencies may better use the budget for safety and awareness campaigns.
Based on Republic Act 8794, 7.5% of the total collected MVUC should be used for road safety initiatives, while a portion of it can also be used by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for road repairs and anti-pollution projects respectively.
But the bottomline for Recto is that the MVUC should be used for the complete benefit of those who shell out money for it. “Actually, all collections from road user’s tax must be spent for road safety. That’s the end objective,” Recto said in a statement.
With emphasis on setting aside budget for emergency accident equipment on standby including ambulances and machines that can help pry victims out of mangles vehicles, Recto seemed dismayed at how the tax money has so far only been realized as "traffic signals, markings, lanes, traffic channelization techniques, traffic calming measures."
“Sadly, what we have are tow trucks on the prowl. Pero sa EDSA na lang, ni isang well-equipped rapid-Emergency Medical Team wala kang makikita, eh kung tutuusin daang milyong piso ang binabayad sa MVUC ng mga libu-libong sasakyan na regular na dumadaan doon (In EDSA alone, you can’t even find one well-equipped rapid-Emergency Medical Team despite the fact millions of pesos are paid for MVUC by over a thousand vehciles plying that route),” added Recto.
Currently, the MVUC collection is expected to reach Php 13.7 billion this year due to the increase in motor vehicle sales. Of that amount, Php 11.8 billion has been authorized for use in the 2015 national budget but has yet to be itemized.