By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday urged the government to stop its plan to increase car registration fees based on inflation amid the planned abolition of the Road Board.
Recto made the appeal as he disclosed that officials from the Executive Branch relayed proposals to Congress to increase the rates in the motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC), more commonly known as road user’s tax.
One proposal, he said, seeks to raise road user’s tax rates based on inflation.
But the Senate leader expressed alarm over the proposed inflation-based increase as it may trigger the imposition of “hefty” fees.
“Medyo mabigat kasi kung (It’s a big burden should it be) adjusted to inflation, using 2004 as base year, ‘yung bayad sa rehistro ng bantam car at SUV ay parehong tataas (registration fees for bantam and SUV registration will both increase) by 72 percent,” Recto said.
“Mayroon naman isang pahiwatig na 50 percent ang increase. Mayroong 100 percent ang increase (There is a 50 percent increase proposal. Another is 100 percent),” he said.
Recto said the government cannot use the abolition of the Road Board, which collects the road user’s tax, to raise car registration fees.
The senator then hit what he called the “three-strike package” supposedly prepared by the government “against car owners.”
He cited the additional excise taxes on fuel and higher taxes on motor vehicles, which have already been implemented through the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
The third tranche, he claimed, would be the increase in the MVUC.
“Baka pwede, huwag nang ituloy ‘yung strike 3, ‘yung sa (It may be possible to stop strike 3, the) MVUC. Kasi sapat na ang buwis sa gasolina bilang tax sa paggamit ng kalsada (The fuel tax is already sufficient). There is already a toll fee in the gas tax. Kung limang kilometro kada litro ang itinatakbo ng sasakyan mo, sa 50 kilometrong ginapang mo, ang gas tax mo ay P144 (If your car runs five kilometers per liter and it travelled 50 kilometers, then your gas tax is P144),” he appealed.
Recto said the government “should be content” that P46.25 billion in MVUC collections “can now be booked, rightfully, as tax, and they must be reflected as such in revenue reports.”
For 2019, the government has projected to collect P13.93 billion from the road user’s tax.
Congress had earlier moved to realign the MVUC funds to be disbursed by the Road Board in the national budget once the controversial agency is dissolved.
“By putting this in the General Fund, there should be less pressure in increasing taxes,” Recto said.