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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Gatchalian renews call: Abolish Road Board

Valenzuela City First District Rep. Weslie Gatchalian has renewed his call for the abolition of the Road Board, after the Commission on Audit revealed that P3.9 billion of the board’s budget for the National Road Lighting Program was not efficiently and effectively implemented.

“As I have previously stated, there really is no cogent reason why in terms of our bureaucratic design this body should still exist. We already currently have a very competently managed DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways]. Another layer of bureaucracy merely increases the chance of inefficiency and irregularity in government,” Gatchalian said in a statement Wednesday.

 The Road Board as an organization is entrusted the responsibility to ensure and oversee the optimum utilization of resources for the maintenance and improvement of a safe, efficient, and environmentally balanced road network, thereby contributing to the physical, social, and economic well-being of the country. 

In the CoA report, government auditors noted that the Road Board Secretariat implemented the NRLP although the board did not have the technical capability nor the legal mandate to implement infrastructure projects.

The auditors also noted that because of the delays in the construction of the lamps, the goals of the project to lessen road related accidents as well as enhanced security were not fully achieved.

“We are about to go on budget season again in the opening of Congress, and so we are expected to provide billions of pesos once more to this body. With all these reports, I am hoping that before we get to that point, we first deliberate on the merits of the measures seeking to abolish it,” said Gatchalian.

“I believe there are more worthwhile uses for these funds such as in education and to complete the rehabilitation of Marawi,” he said.

Republic Act 8794, or An Act Imposing a Motor Vehicle User’s Charge On Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles and for other Purposes, Section 1 provides for and ensures the adequate maintenance of national and provincial roads through sufficient funding for the purpose and in this light mandates the Road Board, to implement the prudent and efficient management and utilization of the special funds earmarked solely for the purpose of road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of adequate traffic light and road safety devices and air pollution control.

The Road Board is mandated to ensure that all monies collected under RA 8794 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations are earmarked and utilized solely for the purpose as defined above according to the law. 

The Board’s goals are:

• To contribute toward an adequate and sustainable road network 

• To contribute toward the reduction of road accidents and traffic congestion 

• To help reduce overloading of vehicles 

• To assist in the reduction of harmful smoke emission from vehicles 

• To help increase the general satisfaction of road users 

• To improve revenue performance generated from the enforcement of RA 8794 

• To attain excellence in service through efficient review and approval of proposals and the prompt submission of accurate reports 

• To strengthen the network and links with stakeholders of the RB in the conduct of its mandated functions 

• To extend assistance to the stakeholders as necessary 

• To develop the capacities of the RB and the RBS, as necessary, toward the attainment of excellence in service 

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