Press Release
November 11, 2019

Explanation of Vote

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
11 November 2019

Since the time we approved this bill on second reading last week, there have been 1786 vehicular accidents - in Metro Manila alone.

Of this, 282 were injuries, and about five were fatalities. We extrapolated this from last year's data. It is safe to assume that the ones for this year are worse.

If we use the PNP Highway Patrol Group's 2019 report, which is national in scope, there have been 26 deaths from road crashes since the afternoon of November 6 when we approved this bill on second reading.

However, the real body count - as with other road accident data - is far higher, as there are other deaths unreported to the HPG or which the latter failed to record.

After all, this is a land where traffic accidents, like overspeeding, fly under the radar.

There is another thing missing.

These are the taxpayer's funds, no longer spent for road safety, which the original Motor Vehicle Users Charge law mandated.

When we interred the Road Users Board in the graveyard of unlamented agencies, we also pulled the plug on the provision earmarking 7.5 percent of vehicle registration fee collections for road safety.

I agree that there was much to be desired in the way the allocations were spent. But the idea of plowing back a fixed percentage of what car owners pay in registering their cars for projects designed to make our roads safe remains valid.

Bad implementation of an idea does not make it obsolete, in the same vein that the existence of ninja cops is not an argument for the abolition of the entire police force.

Mr. President:

It is worth noting that MVUC collections stood at P46.25 billion as of late last year. For 2019, this will increase by P13.9 billion.

I have earlier said that the law we passed merely abolished the Road Board, but did not abolish the duty of the government to declare where MVUC collections will be spent.

And under the law, such itemization should be made in the NEP, and eventually in the General Appropriations Act. Nakaligtaan po yata sa taong ito. Baka pupuwede sa susunod na taon, mayroon na.

The utilization menu has also been changed, earmarking the collections solely for the construction, upgrading, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage--a change I wholeheartedly agree to.

If I can make a suggestion to the DPWH, perhaps they can use the MVUC to fund road works that will guarantee pedestrian safety near schools.

Through widened roads, ample sidewalks, elevated walkways, marked pedestrian lanes, we can create a "kid-safe zone" around the schools and colleges where 25 million people, or one fourth of our population, go to daily.

We need engineering interventions that will cocoon places where our children spend most of their day.

We can still resurrect the MVUC from a fund that killed transparency to one that will save children's lives.

Mr. President:

I have raised the above proposal so that this bill we are about to pass will go beyond remembrances, to one whose import is more meaningful as it would create programs that will be enjoyed the whole year round instead of commemorating it for one day.

Nagbabalak pa naman ang administrasyon na lakihan--doble or maaring triple--ang bayad sa pagpaprehistro ng sasakyan. Baka naman kaakibat ng panukalang ito ay maipakita muna nila kung saan gugugulin ang naka-imbak na mga koleksyon.

At kung kasama ang mga proyektong ililigtas ang ating mga anak sa mga sakuna, maaring makamit nila ang kapahintulutan ng bayan.

I vote yes.

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