Anti-red tape body orders LGUs to stop collecting pass-thru fees

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2021 06:33 PM

Anti-red tape body orders LGUs to stop collecting pass-thru fees 1
Workers unload bags of vegetables from a truck at a market in Divisoria, Manila on 12 July 2017. George Calvello, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – In a bid to lower logistics costs in the Philippines, the Anti-Red Tape Authority has ordered local government units to stop collecting pass-through fees from trucks going through their areas.

ARTA said it has issued a joint memorandum circular (JMC) with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Finance telling LGUs to cease collecting fees and taxes from vehicles transporting goods.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said the agency continues to receive complaints of LGUs charging truckers transporting products pass-through fees despite existing regulations prohibiting these.

"With this JMC, all local chief executives are enjoined to adhere to the new guidelines refraining the enforcement that effect fees in local ports, and other additional taxes, fees or charges in any form upon the transport of goods or merchandise," Belgica said.

He added that ARTA and the other agencies have created an oversight committee to ensure that the order is properly implemented.

The order covers “taxes, fees, and charges and other impositions upon goods carried into or out of, or passing through, the territorial jurisdictions of local government units in the guise of charges for wharfage, tolls for bridges or otherwise, sticker fee, discharging fee, delivery fee, market fee, toll fee, entry fee, and/or mayor’s permit fee, or other taxes, fees, or charges in any form whatsoever upon such goods or merchandise”.

"It actually adds regulatory cost, meaning cost of doing business. Ibig sabihin ho niyan eh ipapasa ho uli yan, ang cost of doing business na yan sa mga consumers at mamimili. Tumataas ho ang presyo dahil ang mga LGUs nag-iimpose po ng mga unwarranted fees," Belgica noted.

("It actually adds regulatory cost, meaning cost of doing business. This means the cost of doing business is passed on to consumers and buyers. Prices are rising because of LGUs who impose unwarranted fees.")

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said around 30 LGUs still have ordinances that impose taxes and fees on delivery vehicles passing through their jurisdiction.

Under the new JMC, Año these ordinances should not be implemented nor passed anymore.

Belgica said truckers may file complaints through the government's 8888 hotline or ARTA's dedicated e-mail address at passthrough@arta.gov.ph.

"Hopefully the impact would not be just a slight impact to the logistics industry but it would really help them to do their businesses during this pandemic," Belgica added. 

Earlier, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said logistics costs in the Philippines comprise 27 percent of a business' total operating cost, one of the highest in the region.

The government wants to bring that share to 15 percent.

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