House OKs bill abolishing Road Board

MANILA — Voting 180-0 with no abstention, the House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading the bill abolishing the graft-ridden Road Board.

House Bill 7436 or the Act Abolishing the Road Board and Providing for the Disposition of the Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge (MVUC) collection contains the amendments earlier agreed upon during a meeting between leaders of the House and the Senate.

Under the bill, MVUC collections worth about PHP45 billion will be transferred to the General Fund and will be covered by the General Appropriations Act.

The amount would be used for the repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, bridges and drainage systems and could also be used to help calamity victims.

The approved version of HB 7436 was totally different from the provisions of the previous version earlier approved during the time of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

While the previous version sought to abolish the graft-ridden Road Board, the management and control of the MVUC collections will be transferred to the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Under the previous bill, the collections shall be allocated in four special trust accounts in the National Treasury: 40 percent each for the Special National Road Support Fund and the Special Local Road Support Fund under the DPWH, 10 percent for the Special Pollution Control Fund under the DENR, and 10 percent for the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund under the DOTr.

The Senate adopted the previous version of HB 7436 last September, dispensing the need for a bicameral conference between the two chambers.

On the same day however, the House, now led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rescinded its approval of HB 7436, leading to an impasse.

The impasse was broken by the agreement hammered among former House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, Senator Ralph Recto last Tuesday.

HB 7436 would now be submitted to the Senate for the chamber’s approval.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said the Senate is ready to recall its earlier adoption of the previous version and adopt the newly-approved version since the agreement among Andaya, Zubiri and Recto could be deemed as a “paper bicam.”

HB 7436 could be submitted immediately to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature, Sotto said. PNA –