Duterte signs law abolishing Road Board

Robie de Guzman   •   March 19, 2019   •   1103

President Rodrigo Duterte has finally signed the law abolishing the controversial Road Board.

The Republic Act 11239 was enacted on March 8, according to the document released by Malacañang on Tuesday (March 19).

The newly-signed law abolishes the Road Board which previously managed the road user’s tax or Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) for repair and maintenance of roads.

Under the measure, the monies collected from the MVUC will now be remitted to the National Treasury Bureau under a special account in the General Fund.

The law states that the collected fund “should be earmarked solely for the construction, upgrading, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage to be included in the yearly General Appropriations Act.”

A Congressional Oversight Committee will also be established to monitor the implementation of this act and the use of special funds.

The committee shall be composed of five members each from the Lower House and Senate to be appointed by the Speaker of the House and Senate President, respectively.

The panel must have one member each from the minority groups and will be jointly chaired by a designated member of the House of Representatives and a Senator.

The law stated that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shall, as needed, absorb the employees of the abolished Road Board Secretariat, without diminution of their salaries and other benefits.

Employees who are separated from the service as a result of the abolition of the Road Board and its secretariat shall receive separation benefits provided that those who are qualified to retire under existing laws shall be allowed to retire and receive retirement benefits to which they may be entitled under applicable laws, rules and regulations.

The law also mandates the transfer of Road Board rights, records, assets and liabilities to the DPWH, including the unexpended appropriations or allocations.

The Secretaries of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) shall craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within 30 days from the effectivity of this act.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been pushing for the abolition of the Road Board, calling the agency a “milking cow” of corrupt government officials.

In 2018, the Commission on Audit flagged Road Board’s billions of pesos worth of unobligated projects and millions of pesos of excessive costs and overpayment. – Robie de Guzman

Duterte on Faeldon: ‘I still believe in him’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte still believes in former Bureau of Correction (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon despite his dismissal order.

For one, President Duterte noted Faeldon’s action of informing the President about a warehouse that stored billions of pesos worth of cigarette with fake tax stamps when he was still head of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

That incident prompted the manufacturer to pay the government P37-B in tax.

This is one reason why despite the controversy that hounded the BuCor including the irregularities in conducting the law on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), President Duterte’s trust in Faeldon remains.

“Faeldon is a decent man. I still believe in him. There was a time when a businessman owned three warehouses filled with cigarettes with fake stamps,” the President said last Friday (September 6) at the groundbreaking ceremony and time capsule laying for the Naga permanent housing project.

“It was Faeldon who told me about it,” he added.

Malacañang clarified that it was not due to corruption that Faeldon was fired from office but because of disobeying the President’s order.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted, however, that Faeldon is not yet cleared as the Office of the Ombudsman is set to begin its investigations.

The Palace Spokesman added that it is the President who will decide whether or not to reappoint Faeldon to a different government position. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on GCTA issue: ‘I suspect that corruption was present there’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte suspected that there might be corruption in the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) regarding the issue on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

“I suspect that corruption was present there [at the BuCor]. Ibig sabihin, baka iyong iba, baka binili (meaning, some might have offered bribe). That’s why it’s important that we rearrest and re-investigate,” he said during a press briefing on Wednesday (Sept 4).

Duterte called on the released heinous crime convicts to surrender for a recomputation of their GCTA.

“I will give you 15 days liberty provided you make yourself available anytime that you will be called for an investigation to have a recomputation, or if there is an investigation of corruption then you cooperate fully,” he added.

During the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Senate President Senator Vicente Sotto III said there is an intelligence report on a so-called “GCTA for sale” in BuCor.

“Marami raw pera ang umikot, milyones daw (There is a lot of money involved, millions) we have intelligence report. I already shared [it] with Sen. Lacson,” said Sotto.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019

Inmates at the Manila City Jail | Courtesy: Photoville International

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the heinous crime convicts who were released through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law to surrender.

“All of you, released under GCTA, you surrender or have yourself registered under BuCor (Bureau of Corrections),” he said.

During a press conference on Wednesday (Sept 4), the Chief Executive has given them 15 days to surrender. He is also considering a P1 million reward for the re-arrest of each released heinous crime convict who refuses to surrender.

BuCor data shows that 1,914 heinous crime convicts have been released under the GCTA since 2014.

They also include the three convicts in the rape-slay of the Chiong sisters.

According to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, the PNP will track those who will not surrender to the authorities after the 15 days given by the president.

“They are given 15 days to show up and submit for investigation to recompute the GCTA. After the deadline, the PNP will track and arrest those who will not surrender themselves to authorities,” he said.—AAC

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