Press Release
September 20, 2018


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Thursday renewed calls for "urgent and immediate follow through on the abolition of the Road Board" after noting that the Senate had already passed a measure putting an end to the government agency's existence early this year.

The lawmaker likewise tagged as "legally questionable" the House of Representatives' "rescission" of an already-approved equivalent bill likewise providing for the Road Board's abolition.

Pimentel, chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, stressed that the Road Board's abolition was intended to be a major step in curbing corruption and properly managing the government's financial resources earmarked for putting into place world-class infrastructure.

"What we continue to have instead is an agency ridden with corruption and inefficiency. COA flagged the Board for such ills in its scathing 2017 report, precisely the reason why we sped up the measure to legislate the Board's necessary demise," the Mindanao legislator explained.

Pimentel's calls last year for the Road Board's abolition culminated in the passage of Senate Bill 1620 last February, with a vote of 18-0.

The House of Representatives for its part approved its own version, House Bill 7436, unanimously voting 172-0 in May.

Last September 12, the Senate adopted House Bill 7436 and replaced SB 1620 with the lower house bill, thus dispensing the need for a bicamercal conference between the two houses to reconcile disparate versions of the proposal.

Later the same day, however, Congress passed a motion that voided House Bill 7436. There were no objections to the motion and it was carried.

Pimentel, who topped the 1990 bar exams, questioned the move.

"The lower house cannot just inform us later that they changed their minds and tell us the House version has ceased to exist anymore. The Senate actually made adjustments and approved their version already because we wanted immediate passage of a law addressing the Road Board."

Senate leaders have since expressed the view that it was up to the President to resolve the matter, considering the Chief Executive was fully supportive of the Board's abolition.

Citing the most recent government audit findings, Pimentel noted as an example illustrating the agency's problems that the Php 3.97-billion National Road Lighting Program (NRLP) that was supposed to set a "new standard for safety and sustainability" in the lighting of the country's national roads was placed in limbo because the Road Board did not possess the technical capability to implement the NRLP.

The COA report likewise remarked that out of the 391 programmed projects for CY 2017, 122 projects costing P3,693,507,726.61 are still on-going, 78 projects costing P1,457,525,203.01 have not been started while 106 projects costing P3,738,548,564.38 were not yet implemented and obligated due to the slow procurement process and failure to adequately coordinate with other government agencies and public utility corporations at the early planning stage of project implementation.

Furthermore, 121 other projects programmed in previous years and granted a total budget of nearly P1.316 billion have yet to be started.

Republic Act No. 8794 entitled, ''An Act Imposing a Motor Vehicle User's Charge on Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles and for Other Purposes," took effect in 2000.

The law created the Road Board to implement the proper and efficient use of the special funds collected via Road User's Tax ("Road Fund"), which are earmarked solely and used exclusively for (1) road maintenance and the improvement of road drainage, (2) installation of adequate and efficient traffic lights and road safety devices, and (3) air pollution control.

"Let's not be sidetracked and distracted. The signing of a law abolishing the Road Board should remain a priority," Pimentel stressed.

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