Last May, the Road Board announced its roadmapping project, known as the “Establishment of the Provincial and City Locational Referencing System and Conduct of Road Inventory Survey” in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), will be completed by the last quarter of the year.
Road Board Project Manager Ruby Socorro Romero said that a road inventory for local and city roads is important in road management as it allows local government units (LGUs) to know which roads are prioritised for repair and maintenance.
“There was no national inventory for those kind of roads, only the LGUs have it. And the methods they use in measuring those roads can create discrepancy and confusion since we don’t have a standard tool in measuring them,” she said.
The project was proposed by DILG and was funded by the Road Board in 2014, with help from Geodata, an IT company which supplied data gathered from surveying the local roads. The project cost was pegged at P255 million.
The funds came from the so-called Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge, or MVUC, which had sparked outrage from lawmakers in the past years, that the Board was hidden from the public scene. However, Road Board Chief of Staff Antonio Aguas said they do not have full discretion with the funds earned from the MVUC.
“We work closely with Department of Public Works and Highways [DPWH], the Department of Finance, and the Department of Transportation – we fund whatever projects they want us to fund,” Aguas told Fast Times.
Republic Act No. 8794 was mandated in 2000, which created the MVUC and the Road Board, the latter tasked to maintain local roads, improve drainage, installing road safety devices and control air pollution. Aguas said the law was patterned from other countries.
The funds are collected from vehicle registrations from the Land Transportation Office, and are deposited in the Bureau of Treasury in four trust accounts: 80 percent goes to the Special Road Support Fund; 5 percent to the Special Local Road Fund; 7.5 percent to the Special Road Safety Fund; and another 7.5 percent to the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund.
Because it is being chaired by the DPWH secretary,Aguas said that Road Board is more of an extension agency.
“Although we work with other agencies such as the Land Transportation Office, it just so happened that DPWH is our closest relative because they are the implementing agency. We are just a funding agency, so in the end, it’s always their [DPWH] credit,” he added.
While the DPWH focuses more on the main roads and highways, Aguas said the Road Board will come into play for the roads not touched by the DPWH as per the General Appropriations Act.
“The trust funds are mandated by law so we cannot work around it. Once we touch one centavo out of the fund that’s not supposed to be touched, then we will have big issues,” Aguas said.
Even though the Road Board spends much on infrastructure and safety devices, Aguas said that it is worthwhile to educate people on road safety.
“We might talk to LTO about it. With the little funds that we have for advertising, for media mileage, I think we have to course it through that – educating people on road rage, traffic signs, and such. We just have to be more visible and more responsible on what we do unlike the past few years,” he said.