Trucking group seeks suspension of toll hikes, taxes on oil

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Trucking group seeks suspension of toll hikes, taxes on oil
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  • The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations is seeking government intervention on toll and oil price hikes
  • The group wrote Private Sector Advisory Council lead convenor for jobs sector Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III to ask for support on “both long and short-term solutions” to address truckers’ concerns
  • ACTOO wants toll hikes at North Luzon Expressway and Manila-Cavite Expressway and pass-through fees and road use tax collected by local government units suspended
  • The group is also appealing for suspension of excise and value-added taxes on oil and revisit of the oil deregulation law

The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO) is seeking government intervention to address toll and oil price hikes.

In a letter to Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) lead convenor for jobs sector Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III dated September 13, ACTOO sought government action and support on “both long and short-term solutions” to address truckers’ concerns, particularly on higher prices of diesel, toll hikes at North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), and pass-through fees and road use tax collected by local government units (LGU).

PSAC was formed in 2022 as a government advisory council that offers guidance to the President in supporting the country’s economic objectives.

ACTOO is calling for the suspension of toll hikes, saying the incremental impact of increases in the last past five years for NLEX, and recently for CAVITEX, “could account for a staggering 20% of truckers’ operational cost.”

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) in June approved the toll rate adjustment for NLEX and the implementation of an additional P7 in the open system and P0.36 per kilometer in the closed system.

In August, CAVITEX started implementation of its adjusted toll at the R-1 Expressway (Seaside to Zapote) and R-1 Expressway Extension, Segment 4 (Zapote to Kawit).

READ: Toll collection for sections of CAVITEX starts on Aug 21

ACTOO also “strongly” suggested a review of NLEX Corp. management’s “poor performance” that has “failed public service and road management for a considerable amount of time now.”

NLEX Corp., the concessionaire of NLEX, earlier said the new rates underwent thorough regulatory reviews and approvals, and were part of the authorized NLEX periodic adjustments due in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020.

TRB allowed NLEX to collect this year the fourth and last tranche of the 2012 and 2014 periodic adjustments and only half of the 2018 and 2020 increases to help “curb the existing inflationary situation and cushion their impact on the users of the expressway.”

ACTOO had already asked NLEX Corp. earlier to suspend and review the implementation of a toll increase, saying improvements in the expressway should come from the toll operator’s “earnings from previous years and not from additional rates.”

READ: ACTOO seeks suspension of NLEX toll rate hike

The group also noted various issues concerning traffic, pending projects, and RFID at toll gates.

Suspension of pass-through fees

In addition, it is for the suspension of all pass-through fees and road use tax by local government units. These not only add substantial cost to the delivery of goods but hamper “their distribution as well, thereby posing threats to food security and the health of the national economy in general.”

The collection of pass-through fees has already been deemed illegal by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Since 2006 DILG has issued eight memorandum circulars reiterating the illegality of such fees, with the latest issuance being Memorandum Circular No. 2018-133 in 2018.

In 2021, Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-01 was virtually launched by the Anti-Red Tape Authority, DILG, and Department of Finance. The JMC provides guidelines on the suspension of LGUs’ imposition and collection of illegal fees and taxes relative to the transport of goods and products.

READ: LGU pass-through fees on cargo vehicles illegal, joint memo stresses

Lastly, ACTOO is appealing for “at the very least, the suspension of excise and value-added taxes on oil products” and a revisit of the oil deregulation law.

It said the continuous oil price hike is a major challenge faced by the trucking industry with the price of diesel, the main fuel used by trucks, steadily rising in recent months.

“The trucking sector has faithfully rendered service during the time of the pandemic, recognizing our role in the food security and efficient distribution [of] goods to keep our nation afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic. At this point, we are, as the rest of the nation is, yet to recover from the adverse impacts brought about by the health crisis. Please allow us ample time to do so.” ACTOO said, even as it noted it shared in the national government’s common goal of reducing logistics costs. – Roumina Pablo