LGUs banned from collecting illegal transport fees, taxes

Published April 29, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Enforcement of local ordinances that allow the collection of illegal fees and taxes for the transport of goods is prohibited, an inter-agency directive reiterated.

Government agencies led by Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Finance (DOF) launched on Wednesday the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-01 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Suspension of [Local Government Unit] LGU Imposition and Collection of Illegal Fees and Taxes Relative to the Transport of Goods and Products.

This was in response to continuing complaints regarding the imposition of unauthorized pass-through fees on the transportation of goods and products from one locality to another despite the existence of several rules and regulations banning it.

With the JMC, all local chief executives are enjoined to adhere to the new guidelines refraining the enforcement of “any existing ordinance authorizing the levy of fees and taxes on inter-province transport of goods or merchandise, regulatory fees in local ports, and other additional taxes, fees or charges in any form upon the transport of goods or merchandise.”

“These include 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,” the document read.

Existing local ordinances on pass-through fees and taxes for any form of transported goods and products shall be subjected to a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA).

Furthermore, ARTA shall conduct its own regulatory review of ordinances by LGUs that received a show-cause order from DILG’s Local and Legislative Liaison Service (LLLS).

A Joint Oversight Committee, composed of DILG-Bureau of Local Government Development, DOF-Bureau of Local Government Finance, ARTA, and public and private stakeholders, is tasked to monitor the implementation of the JMC.

LGUs who fail to comply with this directive may face probe.

ARTA, likewise, may investigate those who will be found violating any of the provisions of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services law.

ATA can file charges with recommendation for preventive suspension against erring government officials.