Home » Customs & Trade » SC stops VAT on tolls, SLEX hike

THE Supreme Court (SC) last Friday issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the collection of the 12% value-added tax (VAT) on all road tolls and the 250% increase in toll fee at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx). The increases were to have been implemented today.

Court Administrator and SC spokesperson Atty. Midas Marquez said the High Court issued the restraining orders due to the perceived “irreparable damage” to the public using the highways.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares were given 10 days to respond to the petition against the tollway tax filed by former Nueva Ecija Representative Renato Diaz and former Trade Assistant Secretary Aurora Timbol. Diaz and Timbol claimed the imposition of the VAT on the use of tollways was unconstitutional and “an invasion of legislative powers.”

Petitions against the SLEx toll increase were filed by, among others, Albay Governor Jose Salceda, private lawyers Ernesto Francisco, Jr and Jose Ma. Hizon, former House members Imee Marcos, Ronaldo Zamora, Quirino Marquez and Luis Asistio, and the Gising Kabataan Movement.

Francisco and Hizon in their petition described as “stupefying” the toll hikes. “For instance, the increase in toll fee for private passenger vehicles amounts to P2.70 per kilometer. This represents a staggering 320-percent increase over the current P0.82 per kilometer,” they said.

In his separate petition, Salceda called the increase “abrupt, unconscionable, exorbitant and shocking.”

The tax and toll hikes were to have raised more than P1 billion a year for the government, and would have helped slash the budget deficit expected to reach a record P325 billion this year.

Once the new rate plus VAT is implemented at the SLEx, Class 1 vehicles will be charged P86 from the previous rate of P22. For the same type of vehicles, the rate for Coastal Road will be P25 from P22; at the STAR Tollway, P67 from P60; and at the North Luzon Expressway, P42 from P38 for the Balintawak to Bocaue stretch.

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