President Marcos orders suspension of pass-through fees
September 30, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Local government units have been ordered to stop collecting “pass-through fees” from all motor vehicles transporting goods or merchandise going through any national road and other roads not constructed and funded by the LGUs.
Executive Order 41, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin for President Marcos on Sept. 25, aims to ensure the efficient movement of goods across regions and help lower the prices of food and other commodities, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a statement yesterday.
The suspension of the collection of pass-through fees is also aligned with the government’s strategies to revitalize local industries under the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the PCO explained.
“So it’s really about the ease of doing business and to simplify again the procedures that are required for the transporter to bring the produce especially from farm to market,” Marcos, also the agriculture secretary, said in an interview in Surigao del Norte.
“In the interest of public welfare, all LGUs are further strongly urged to suspend or discontinue the collection of fees such as, but not limited to, sticker fees, discharging fees, delivery fees, market fees, toll fees, entry fees, or Mayor’s Permit fees, that are imposed upon all motor vehicles transporting goods and passing through any local public roads constructed and funded by said LGUs,” the three-page order stated.
“The unauthorized imposition of pass-through fees has a significant impact on transportation and logistics costs, which are often passed on to consumers, who ultimately bear the burden of paying for the increase in prices of goods and commodities,” the EO noted.
To effectively implement the EO, the Department of the Interior and Local Government is directed to secure copies of existing ordinances of all LGUs on the collection of pass-through fees imposed on motor vehicles within 30 days from the effectivity of the EO.
The EO will take effect immediately upon its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation, the PCO said.
Failure to comply with the directives is subject to administrative and disciplinary sanctions against erring public officials or employees, the EO said.
Rice summit pushed
Rice retailers group Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GRECON) on Friday pushed for the holding of a grain summit as it thanked President Marcos for directing all LGUs to suspend the collection of “pass-through fees.”
“It’s (rice crisis) is a wakeup call and the government should call for a rice summit to discuss the programs of the farmers, palay traders, rice millers, importers, wholesalers and retailers. If this will not be fixed, the problem will persist and our proposal is if the National Food Authority has a buying price of P23 (per kilo), how much should be the buying price of traders, the millers, wholesalers to prevent profiteering,” GRECON national spokesperson Orly Manuntag said in an interview with The STAR.
At the same time, Manuntag said the suspension of pass-through fees would help bring down the retail prices of rice in the markets. According to Manuntag, in Manila alone, a delivery truck pays at least P650 every three months for such fees.
The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) also welcomed the suspension of pass-through fees, saying it will remove one unnecessary charge on logistics vehicles.
However, CTAP president Maria Zapata said that government must ensure strict implementation of the directive in all cities and municipalities. She noted that previous administrations have already issued similar directives but LGUs were not compliant.
She explained that the directive only applies to national roads and can be bypassed through the passage of local ordinances that imposed toll charges on secondary roads.
Still, she said that this move can help out trucking companies but more has to be done to support the logistics industry. Zapata noted that there are other unnecessary charges – such as unsynchronized truck bans in different areas or varied charges for road violations – that are also taking a toll on truckers, particularly those operating in Metro Manila.
The Philippines will be fully dependent on farm imports by 2030 amid the aging population of farmers in the country, Sen. Imee Marcos warned yesterday.
“We started our research and based on the survey conducted on the farmers, their average age is 58 years old. Once a farmer reaches 58 years old, it is very difficult to farm as his working life is about to end,” Marcos said during the launching of the Young Farmers Challenge Program at Coconut Palace in Pasay City.
Marcos added that the Young Farmers Challenge Program aims to encourage young Filipinos to embark on agriculture.
“Instead of being told that we will no longer have farmers and nobody will earn from the farms and by 2030, all our food will be imported, we thought of a solution and the solution is to provide capital, little assistance, training, and technology for ages under 30 years old,” Marcos said, adding that over 2,500 already applied for the program. — Bella Cariaso, Romina Cabrera