“Equity” in road clearing a must

Press Release

Office of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto

08 August 2019

Tap P46 B MVUC in road clearing, improvement ops

National government should have “equity” in the road clearing operations it had mandated local governments to undertake, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said today.

“Its participation should go beyond issuing orders and deadlines, but must also include contributing to the tools and resources local governments need to rid thoroughfares of obstructions,” Recto said.

“Once roads are cleared of encroachments, the hardest part is to keep them that way—and to ensure that some form of national government-local government partnership is needed,” he said.

Recto said one funding source that can augment local efforts are the billions in unspent Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) collections, which are car registration fees paid at the Land Transportation Office.

Unspent MVUC collections stood at P46.25 billion as of December 2018. For 2019, government projects to collect P13.9 billion.

While the use of the MVUC has been modified by a new law signed by President Duterte on April 8, 2019, it can still be used to complement road clearing operations, Recto said.

He was referring to Republic Act 11239, which abolished the Road Board and earmarked all MVUC collections “solely for the construction, upgrading, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage” that will be specified in the national budget.

“Under these terms of use, kung naglilinis ang lokal na pamahalaan, dapat kasunod na ang DPWH sa pag-aayos ng road drainage, sidewalks, at pag-aspalto at pag-ayos ng mga apektadong bahagi ng kalsada,” he said.

Recto said the MVUC fund would have been the ideal source for the purchase of road clearing equipment like tow trucks and emergency response vehicles to traffic jam-causing accidents, but “these expenditures are no longer in the menu of the new law amending the use of MVUC.”

“But what national government can do is let MVUC fund some DPWH projects and use the so-called ‘savings’ for programs and projects that will aid local governments in keeping roads safe and clear of blockages,” Recto said.

“Parang internal calculation na lang ‘yan. Offsetting na lang. Kung, say, P5 billion worth of road construction projects ang napondohan ng MVUC, eh di i-apply mo yung P5 billion sa ibang proyekto na pwedeng makatulong sa trabaho ng local governments,” he said.

He cited the P1 billion Performance Challenge Fund, an item in the budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government, which he said can be increased to reward local governments who excel in road safety and decongestion work.

“Kung namimigay ang national government ng police cars, fire trucks sa mga LGUs, pwede rin ang tow trucks o anumang panghakot ng mga bara sa kalsada,” Recto said.

“Maraming mahihirap na pamahalaang bayan, lalo na doon sa mga major national highways, na kulang ang kapasidad, kahit na man lang doon sa pailaw ng kalsada,” Recto said.

Recto said projects to maximize road space are some of the plowbacks vehicle owners expect for the registration fees they pay.(###)

the noblest motive is the greatest good for the greatest number