Funds from Road Board to be used to clean up Manila Bay, to assist Usman-displaced families, Palace says
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed support to use part of the road user's tax for the massive cleanup of the Manila Bay, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the proceeds from the road user's tax would not be disbursed unless a new law abolishing the Road Board is passed into law.
"The Cabinet also discussed that the special road funds can be used to finance hospital needs and the cleanup of the Manila Bay," he said.
A portion of the fund could also be used to benefit those affected by tropical depression Usman, especially in the Bicol Region, he said.
''Usman'' hit the country last December, leaving over 100 people dead.
Asked how much the budget would be needed for the cleanup of Manila Bay, Panelo said, "From what I heard last night, I think it’s 46 billion pesos."
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said that his office would focus on cleaning Manila Bay after the government task force successfully rehabilitated Boracay in Malay, Aklan last year.
Panelo said the Palace expects Congress to immediately forward to Malacanang the enrolled bill abolishing the Road Board.
In the same Cabinet meeting on Monday, Panelo said Duterte has expressed support on the passage of the increase in the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products.
"The Chief Executive likewise approved the proposal of the Department of Health and the Department of Finance to increase the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products. This is a key public health measure to reduce deaths and disabilities due to tobacco and alcohol consumption and, at the same time, a revenue measure to fund the universal health care program," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS