Press Release
May 6, 2015

Koko wants corrupt-ridden Road Board abolished

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said he is filing a bill to abolish the controversial Road Board, accused of illegally diverting billions in pesos of special road user's tax funds to highly questionable projects.

Pimentel, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said the Road Board is just another layer of bureaucracy which became an avenue for massive graft and corruption.

He said the road user's tax is likewise another tax item that is not fully utilized for the purpose it was created but for suspicious projects, thus the need to also abolish a redundant tax item.

Instead, Pimentel said the funds should be re-channelled for much-needed infrastructure projects, and health and social services programs.

Pimentel said his proposed bill would repeal Republic Act No. 8794 which imposed a motor vehicle user's charge on owners of all types of motor vehicles and created the Road Board.

The Road Board is tasked to manage and utilize the special road user's funds exclusively for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices and air pollution control.

But Pimentel said a Commission on Audit report showed that billions in pesos of the road user's tax were illegally used for other highly-questionable purposes over the years by the Road Board.

He said of the estimated Php90.72 billion in road user's tax collection from 2001 to December 2012, only Php10.69 billion was left of the funds as of the end of 2012.

During the period 2004-2008, Pimentel said the COA found out that the road fund was used for the payment of salaries, allowances, maintenance, and other operating expenses of the Road Board.

Pimentel said these expenses should have been charged to the regular budget of the agency, amounting to Php515.50 million unlawful expenses.

He also pointed to COA's discoveries on discrepancies in the collection of the road user's tax from 2001 to 2010 as stated in the respective certifications of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Bureau of Treasury.

Pimentel said there was a huge difference of Php1.495 billion, using the COA report.

He said that the COA again reported that in 2011, Php62.52 million was used for engineering and administrative overhead expenses instead of spending the fund for road maintenance.

He said in its 2013 audit, the COA uncovered irregularities in the Road Board's expenditures, amounting to more than Php1.66 billion in public funds.

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