[Press Release] Trucks, Buses hold protest caravan in North Luzon Expressway against VAT on Toll fees and High Oil prices- PMT
Members of the militant transport group Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) and National Council for Commuter Protection (NCCP) held a protest caravan along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) early Tuesday morning. More than 100 trucks, buses, jeepneys and private vehicles snarled traffic along the NLEX as protesters asked P-Noy to stop the imposition of the VAT on toll fees.
On October 1, 2011 toll fees rose by 12% as toll ways operators started collecting the value-added tax (VAT). This will inevitably result to a domino effect on prices of basic commodities and services. What makes it worse according to protesters is that the punishment will increase over time. Toll ways contracts allow for yearly increases in toll fees. This meant more VAT revenues for government at the expense of the people.
For Class 1 motorists (cars, jeepneys, vans and AUVs) of the NLEX are charged an additional P1-23; Class 2 (light trucks and buses) an additional P3-58 and Class 3 (trailers and large trucks) an additional P4-69 depending on entry/exit point. For the SLEX, Class 1 motorists are be charged up to an additional P10; Class 2 up to an additional P20 and Class 3 up to an additional P30. The SCTEX, STAR and Skyway toll fees increased similarly.
PMT Secretary General, Larry pascua exclaimed, “We already have our backs bent and bowls begging from the debilitating effects of exorbitant prices of petroleum products, power rates as well as high prices of basic commodities and services. Malacanang’s persistence in collecting VAT on toll shows its apathy and callousness to the plight of our overburdened people.”
Calls to stop the implementation from various sectors and other government officials fell on deaf ears as Malacanang insisted that it was left with no other choice but to collect the VAT after the Supreme Court lifted the Temporary Restraining Order and affirmed the legality of the VAT on toll. Government expects VAT revenues to increase by 2 billion pesos as result of this.
Pascua explained “It is not true that the SC decision ordered the Malacanang to collect the VAT. It merely declared legal the imposition of VAT but at the same time stated that “the exclusive discretion on the implementation of tax measures lies with executive department”. To us this meant that Malacanang in deciding to implement this tax measure must first put into consideration its effects on the people. Clearly, Noynoy chose revenues over the welfare of the people.”
Pascua reminded palace officials, “Malacanang’s primary duty is to serve and protect the people. With this, Noynoy has revealed his true nature. He is no different from his predecessors. His “tuwid na daan” is a farce. He has opted to stand against the welfare of the people and genuine development. We will continue with protest actions until we have a government that puts the interest and welfare of the Filipino at the forefront of its programs.”
October 11, 2011
Dante Lagman, PMT President
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