PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure abolishing the corruption-plagued Road Board.
Under Republic Act (RA) 11239 inked on March 8, the collected Road User's Tax, otherwise known as the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC), will be remitted to the National Treasury under the General Fund's special account.
"All monies collected under this Act shall be remitted to the National Treasury under a special account in the General Fund to be earmarked solely for the construction, upgrading, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage to be included in the annual General Appropriations Act," the law read.
Duterte signed RA 11239, as he has repeatedly lamented that the Road Board turned into a "milking cow" of corrupt government officials.
The Road Board oversees funds from the MVUC used for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control.
The MVUC, however, has been misappropriated, making it vulnerable to corruption, the state auditors earlier noted.
The newly-signed law directs the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to absorb, "as needed," the employees of the secretariat of the abolished Road Board, "without diminution of their salaries and other benefits."
Employees who are separated from the service as a result of the abolition of the Road Board will receive separation benefits.
Meantime, retiring Road Board employees will receive retirement benefits.
Budget, Public Works, and Transportation secretaries are directed to jointly promulgate rules and regulations to implement and carry out the intent, objectives, purposes, and provisions of RA 11239 within 30 says.
"The DPWH shall, by virtue of this Act, be subrogated to all the rights and assume all the obligations and liabilities of the Road Board, and all records, property, assets, equipment, and funds of the Road Board, including unexpended appropriations or allocations, shall be transferred to the DPWH," RA 11239 said.
A congressional oversight committee, composed of five members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, is also created to monitor the implementation of the law.
RA 11239 will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
The Palace released a copy of the law just on Tuesday, March 19. (SunStar Philippines)