Road board abolition awaits Duterte's signature

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 17) — A bill seeking to abolish the Road Board agency amid corruption allegations now awaits the President's signature. 

In a statement released Sunday, the Senate announced that House Bill 7436 was sent to President Rodrigo Duterte's office for signing on February 8. 

The Senate adopted the House version of the bill in January to dispense with the bicameral conference, it said. 

Should the President fail to veto the measure in 30 days from receipt for signing, the bill will lapse into law. 

However, the Senate is convinced Duterte will not veto the bill given that he called for the urgent abolition of the Road Board in 2017. In December 2018, Duterte said he would support the Senate's move to abolish the Road Board and called the agency a "milking cow" of corrupt government officials. 

"The possibility of the bill being vetoed by Duterte is nil as it was the President himself who asked Congress to legislate the abolition of the Road Board," the Senate said.  

The Road Board manages funds from the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC) for road maintenance and equipment. The Commission on Audit repeatedly slammed the board over millions of pesos worth of unimplemented and unobligated projects, excessive costs and overpayments.  

From 2001 to May 2018, the board had collected ₱166.18 billion of MVUC, of which only ₱136.87 billion have been released, the Senate cited. Budget chief Benjamin Diokno said the agency has an unspent amount of ₱45 billion form the MVUC fund. 

Under the proposed measure, the road users' tax will be transferred to the National Treasury to fund government projects with the allocation discussed by the annual General Appropriations Act.