PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has sought to use a portion of the multibillion-peso Road User's Tax funds for hospital needs and massive clean-up of Manila Bay, Malacañang said on Tuesday, January 8.
This developed just days after Duterte announced that he would tap the funds collected by the corrupt-ridden Road Board for the flood-mitigation projects in Bicol Region, which was devastated by Tropical Depression Usman.
Duterte made the decision during a meeting with his Cabinet officials at Malacañan Palace on Monday, January 7.
"The Cabinet also discussed that the special road funds can be used to finance hospital needs and the clean-up of the Manila Bay," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"A portion of the fund can also be used to benefit those affected by Tropical Depression Usman especially those in the Bicol Region," he added.
Panelo also noted that during the Cabinet meeting, Duterte reiterated the need to create a disaster department "to address the emerging challenges to disaster resiliency."
Duterte has maintained his stance that the Road Board, which became a "milking cow" of corrupt government officials, must be abolished.
On January 4, the President said he would convince Congress to pass a measure that would abolish the Road Board, which oversees taxes collected from road users.
"We will work together, convince Congress [to abolish Road Board]. Wala naman silang magawa talaga diyan. Ayoko talaga. Maski saan niyo ilagay, I will not release any single centavo there. Nanghihinayang ako," he said during a January 4 situation briefing on the effects of Usman held in Pili, Camarines Sur.
(We will work together, convince Congress [to abolish Road Board]. They can't do anything because I don't like it. I will not release any single centavo there because it would be a waste of time.) (SunStar Philippines)