Road user’s tax spent faster than Malampaya

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MANILA -- The government’s third-biggest source of tax revenues appears to be getting depleted even faster than the now controversial Malampaya Fund, which represents the royalties from the Malampaya oil and gas operations off Palawan.


As of December last year, the government has collected some P90.72 billion of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC), or the road user’s tax, based on the Department of Budget and Management’s Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) report.

But only P10.69 billion is left of the fund as of the end of 2012, meaning a total of P80.02 billion has been spent since the MVUC was first collected in 2001.

When former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stepped down in 2010 after nine years in office, only P8.34 billion remained of the MVUC, despite an average annual collection of P7 billion.

In the case of the Malampaya Fund, administration Sen. Ralph Recto earlier claimed that of the P170 billion in royalties collected since 2002, a total of P130 billion was “gone.”

Recto said the Arroyo administration had used up P25 billion while President Aquino has so far spent P15 billion.

Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, is facing another set of charges for allegedly pocketing P900 million in Malampaya funds that were supposed to have been spent for typhoon victims. Also charged were Arroyo and three of her Cabinet members.

The MVUC was created by Republic Act No. 8794 in 2000. The proceeds from the tax were supposed to constitute a “special road fund” to be spent “exclusively” for the improvement and maintenance of drainage systems in national primary and secondary roads.

The General Appropriations Act of 2013 expanded the scope of the fund’s use to cover the “maintenance of roads and bridges.”

The total MVUC collection and how it is spent are contained in the BESF, a report made available together with the President’s National Expenditure Program, under “earmarked revenues, special accounts in the general fund.”

A comparison of the BESF and the Bureau of Treasury reports suggested discrepancies in the amount of MVUC collections deposited since 2001. That year, the BESF showed a deposit of P3.69 billion, but the Bureau of Treasury amount was lower at P3.17 billion.

The P90.72 billion in total MVUC collections can be broken down into four items: special road support fund (P72.57 billion), special local road fund (P4.53 billion), and the special road safety fund and the special pollution fund, which represented an identical amount of P6.8 billion.