President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law an act that abolishes the Road Board that he had once referred to as a “milking cow” of corrupt officials.

Duterte on March 8 signed Republic Act No. 11239, which dismantled the board and required the government to channel the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) into the National Treasury. A copy of the measure was made public on Tuesday, March 19.

Under the new law, the multibillion-peso MVUC will be “remitted to the National Treasury under a special account in the General Fund” to be earmarked solely for the construction, upgrading, repair, and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage to be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

A Congressional Oversight committee will also be created to monitor the implementation of the law imposing the motor vehicle user’s charge. The committee will be comprised of five members each from the House of Representatives and the Senate. One member of each chamber should be from the minority.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) will assume all obligations and liabilities of the Road Board —  the board’s records, property, assets, equipment and funds will all be transferred to the department.

The public works department will also absorb the employees of the Road Board secretariat without reducing their salaries and benefits.

The proposal to abolish the Road Board had been filled with controversies. It was one of the reasons why the passage of this year’s P3.757-trillion budget was delayed, sparking a quarrel between then budget secretary Benjamin Diokno and several lawmakers who accused him of inserting some P75 billion in the budget without Duterte’s approval.

Duterte also signed Republic Act No. 11241 or the Philippine Occupational Therapy Law of 2018, which regulates the registration, licensure and practice of occupational therapy and extending the franchise of a broadcasting firm. It was enacted on March 11.

Republic Act No. 11241 creates a board consisting of a chairman and two members appointed by the president to promulgate, administer and enforce rules governing occupational therapy.

Licensure examination will be a requirement for occupational therapists. A general average of 75 percent with no grade lower than 60 percent in any subject should be obtained by an applicant to be qualified to practice.

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