Toll fee hike possible next year - TRB

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 01 2012 10:51 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 06:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Motorists may need to brace themselves for a fresh round of toll fee hikes in main Luzon highways, after the Toll Regulatory Board hinted these may push through next year.

"We're not stopping it (petition for toll hike) but we're going through the procedures because we have to balance the interests of consumers and investors," TRB Executive Director Edmund O. Reyes, Jr. said in an interview with ANC Headstart.

Firms operating the NLEx, SCTEx, CAVITEx and Star Tollway have previously filed petitions for an increase in toll rates with the TRB. Operators are entitled to file for a toll fee hike under their respective contracts with the government.

When asked if such petitions may be approved in time for the Jan. 1, 2013 implementation, Reyes said "It would appear so."

He was, however, quick to add: "I cannot say that officially as we're still conducting hearings."

Reyes explained that after the petitions have been filed with the TRB, the agency has the responsibility to conduct hearings to determine the right amount of increase to be approved or if any hike should be approved at all.

SCTEx, CAVITEx and Star Tollway operators have filed their petitions last year, aimed for implementation Jan. 1 this year. But ongoing hearings at the TRB have delayed this, Reyes said.

NLEx operator, meanwhile, sought for a toll rate increase last month.

If approved, all of these toll rate increases will become effective Jan. 1 next year.

On Oct. 1 last year, higher toll fees were implemented on Luzon expressways, reflecting the 12% value-added tax slapped on the rates.

Higher fees were immediately put in place after the legality of a Bureau of Internal Revenue policy for a 12% VAT on toll rates was upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2011.