MANILA

House gives nod for Road Board's abolition; Palace 'pleased'

AFTER rescinding its bill abolishing the Road Board, the House of Representatives has made another dramatic turnaround, this time, heeding President Rodrigo Duterte's call to abolish the corrupt-laden agency.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the House lawmakers would give in and follow the President's directive to abolish the Road Board, a body tasked to collect the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MCUV) or Road User's Tax from vehicle owners.

"The President has spoken. We heard his message to the House. We will act based on his guidance," Andaya said in a statement on Saturday, December 22, days after saying that he was against the Road Board's termination.

"If the President wants an abolition of the Road Board, let it be real abolition, no residues," he added.

Andaya's statement came a day after the President said he was siding with the Senate in scrapping the Road Board, which is being used as "milking cow" of corrupt government officials.

The Road Board oversees funds collected from the MVUC for road maintenance and drainage improvement; the installation of traffic lights and road safety devies; and monitoring of air pollution.

Duterte, in a speech delivered in Pasay City on Friday, made it clear that he was advocating for the Road Board's abolition since assuming office in June 2016, noting that the office was "nothign but a depository of money and for corruption."

Andaya vowed that the House would approve "without delay" a "better" bill that would be certified as urgent by Duterte.

In a separate statement, Malacañang was elated by the House of Representatives' decision to finally comply with the President's order to abolish the Road Board.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was "pleased" that Andaya was already "in touch with reality" that Duterte wanted to scrap the graft-ridden agency.

"We are pleased to know that the House of Representatives has listened to the voice of the people who have long been outraged by the corruption surrounding the use of the said tax," the Palace official said.

"The President, pursuant to the command of the Constitution to serve and protect the people, has laid the basis of his governance at the inception of his presidency that the people's money shall only be spent for their welfare, and those who steal from it shall be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," he added.

Panelo said the executive branch was expecting that those who temporarily wield political power would observe Duterte's call for a "clean and responsive government."

"Let the President's call for a clean and responsive government to the needs of the governed be taken to heart by those who temporarily wield political power so that our country could commence to traverse the path righteousness and progress so long denied them by those they have entrusted with authority," he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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