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Tap road user's tax for street clearing operations - Recto.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is asking the government to use the P46 billion Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC) collections for road clearing and improvement operations.

Recto said the national government should have 'equity' in the road clearing operations.

'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 in a statement.

'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 added.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Rodrigo Duterte has directed local government units to 'reclaim' public roads being used for private purposes.

Hence, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum circular ordering local chief executives (LCEs) to clear roads of obstructions in 60 days.

The unspent MVUC collections, which are car registration fees paid at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), could be a funding source that can help local efforts, Recto noted.

He said unspent MVUC collections amounted to P46.25 billion as of December 2018, while for 2019, the government projects to collect P13.9 billion.

Recto said the MVUC can still be used to complement road clearing operations, even those its use has been modified by a new law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last April 8.

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 (Department of Public Works and Highways) sa pag-aayos ng road drainage, sidewalks, at pag-aspalto at pag-ayos ng mga apektadong bahagi ng kalsada,' Recto said.

The MVUC fund would have been ideal source for the purchase of road clearing equipment like tow trucks and emergency response vehicles, Recto noted.

However, the said expenditure are no longer 'in the menu of the new law amending the use of MVUC,' he added.

'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.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 8, 2019
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