By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has appealed for the “full disclosure” of the project that will be funded by the collections of the abolished Road Board.
Recto issued the call Friday as Malacañang prepares its proposed expenditure program for 2020 ahead of the opening of the 18th Congress.
In a statement, the Senate leader pointed out that the 2020 national budget should comply with Republic Act 11239, which dissolved the Road Board amid reports of corruption.
RA 11239, signed by President Duterte last April 8, decreed that all Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) collections be remitted to the national treasury and 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 (GAA).”
“This is the very important sunshine provision in the law abolishing the Road Board. It means that projects funded by MVUC must be itemized and presented, in the interest of transparency, as MVUC-funded projects,” Recto said.
“That’s the way to do it. Full disclosure. So that vehicle owners will know where the registration fees they have paid will go,” he added.
Recto said the MVUC-funded projects should not co-mingle with projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways’ proposed allocations and other budget items.
This, he said, “disobeys” the law’s intent of making the MVUC projects distinct and separate.
“If this will not be done, then we will be going back to the old system of treating MVUC collections as off-budget expenditures. Kung hindi deklarado, nakatago at naka-lump sum lang, e ‘di parang bumalik tayo sa lumang gawain,” he stressed.
Citing government data, Recto said unspent MVUC collections stood at P46.25 billion as of late last year.
For 2019, government projects are expected to raise P13.9 billion from the vehicle registration fees, which are collected by Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The executive department reportedly plans to submit to Congress its proposed P4.1-trillion government budget for 2020 after the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 22.
Around P1 trillion of the proposed national funds will supposedly be allocated for infrastructure projects.