Road User’s Tax not for disaster rehab

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian yesterday said that the government cannot use the P43-billion fund of the Road Board for the rehabilitation of the areas devastated by tropical depression Usman.

Gatchalian explained that under the law that created the Road User’s Tax, it is clear that the fund could only be use for the maintenance of public roads, road safety and signs.

“Sa ngayon, hindi magagamit ng Pangulo yan, dahil specific ang batas sa road user’s tax. Pwede lang yan sa road maintenance, road safety, signage at hindi pwede sa disaster response,” the senator insisted.

But there is a way. However the law must first be repealed or the Road Board totally abolished in order for its fund to be transferred to the National Treasury, Gatchalian said.

“Kaya ang tamang proseso ay marepeal na ang batas para ang pondo ay matransfer na sa General Appropriations Act (GAA) para pwede nang gastusin,” Gatchalian added.

The senator made the statements after the President reportedly ordered the use of the Road Board fund in the rehabilitation of the affected places by the typhoon particularly the province of Camarines Sur.

At the same time, Gatchalian is hopeful that the Senate and House of Representatives will eventually settle their differences regarding the proposal to abolish the Road Board.

“I think meron ng meeting of the minds dahil nagsalita na ang Pangulo eh, kaya ang kongreso ngayon ay sumangayon na dahil nakakakasa na ang batas,” he added.