FORMER Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has welcomed the announcement of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the controversial ‘Road Board’ amid allegations of corruption and misuse of billions of funds of the agency.
“I support the move of President Duterte to strike down the Road Board.
“I think it has lost its original direction and usefulness,” said ‘Manong Johnny,’ whose term as Senate President is still being fondly remembered by Senate employees.
As then chairman of the Senate finance committee during the term of Pres. Joseph Estrada, Enrile was instrumental in the creation of the Road Board.
The board is a “collegial body” composed of the secretaries of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the Department of Finance (DOF).
Its main task is to administer the billions of funds collected from motorists thru the ‘Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge (MVUC) to ensure the proper maintenance of all national and provincial roads, as provided for under RA 8794 signed into law by Estrada in 2000.
“I participated in its creation when I was the chairman of the finance committee of the Senate.
“The road user tax fund under the administration and control of the board was designed to provide the money to maintain and repair our national roads,” Enrile stressed.
For this reason, Enrile agrees with Tatay Digong’s plan to abolish the agency and place the road user’s tax collections in the hands of the National Treasury.
Citing from a report from the Commission on Audit, Enrile, who is eyeing another comeback in the coming midterm polls this May, bewailed the findings of state auditors that as much as P90.7 billion had been “misappropriated” by the agency.
Aside from supporting the agency’s abolition, Enrile said that if elected anew, he wants to bring attention to the role of lawmakers in addressing the worsening traffic situation, particularly in Metro Manila.
“Legislators can help by crafting incentive laws to decongest metropolitan Manila,” Enrile pointed out.
The solution, according to Enrile, will “essentially involve city planning”.
“The government can construct more ‘elevated roads’ all over Metro Manila and wider entry and exit roads below. More bridges across the Pasig River are needed,” he shared.