PRRD: ABOLISH ROAD BOARD, USE TAX FUNDS FOR FLOOD CONTROL
MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte reiterated his call for the abolition of the Road Board as he tagged it a "milking cow" for corruption, saying he wants to divert the road user's tax funds of the body to flood control projects instead.
In a situational briefing after his aerial inspection in the aftermath of Tropical Depression Usman in Camarines Sur on Friday, Duterte said he will talk to Senate President Tito Sotto and House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the Road Board's abolition and for the transfer of its funds to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for flood control infrastructure.
"We will work together, convince Congress. Wala naman silang magawa talaga diyan. Ayaw ko talaga eh, maski saan niyo ilagay (They can't really do anything there. I really don't want to put the funds there, put it wherever), I will not release any single centavo there. Manghinayang ako (I would regret it)," he said.
The President said he wants to prioritize the Bicol region in flood control projects once the funds from the Road User's Tax are already diverted.
"Okay ako diyan. Unahin muna ang Bicol (I'm okay with Bicol getting the flood control projects first). With that money, I will give you my commitment that you’ll be the first. Kunin talaga natin ‘yang pera na ‘yan (We will really get that money). I will get it. Put it somewhere else -- para ma-ano sa tao (so that it becomes beneficial to the people)," he said.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte expressed support for the measure and cited its possible gains.
"Kahit konting ulan mismo ‘yung national highway po dito, konting ulan po nagbabaha (Even if the rain is light, the national highway here gets flooded). Then, Camarines Sur po is sixth in rice production despite na nagbabaha (the flooding). Can you imagine po sir, kung hindi na magbabaha dito baka number two, number three po kami (if there is no flooding here, we could be second or third)," Villafuerte told the President during the situational briefing.
Aside from Villafuerte, some lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have already expressed their support for the Road Board's abolition.
The Road Board manages the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC), which has a balance of PHP45 billion.
“Usman” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility last December 28 and lashed at Bicol, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), and Eastern Visayas.
Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that the calamity damaged the Bicol region immensely, particularly Albay and Camarines Sur, where heavy rains resulted in flash floods and landslides affecting more than 23,000 families, with at least 122 deaths, and 28 reported as missing. (PNA)
Photo from ABS-CBN News