Dalog files Congress bills to abolish national toll roads

>> Tuesday, January 3, 2017

By Erlindo Agwilang, Jr. 

MOUNTAIN PROVINCE Rep. Maximo B. Dalog has filed two separate bills to abolish and terminate collection of toll fees from road users traversing the Baguio-Bontoc-Halsema Highway and Kennon Road, all located in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
In House Bill 4570 entitled, “Aan Act terminating the collection of toll fees along the portion of the Benguet Road (Kennon Road) from Klondyke’s Spring to Camp 6 repealing for the purpose Executive Order No. 34, Series of 1954, as amended and House Bill 4571 entitled, “ An Act abolishing the Baguio-Bontoc Halsema Highway National Toll Road and terminating collection of toll fees thereto,” Dalog explained that in the entire Philippine Archipelago, only the Cordillera Region has a national toll road.
The Baguio-Bontoc-Halsema Highway and Kennon National Toll Road comprises three toll gates which are situated in Camp 1 and Camp 6 at Tuba, Benguet and in Acop, Tublay, Benguet.
The collection of toll fees along Kennon Road was implemented by Executive Order 34, issued by then President Ramon Magsaysay on June 1, 1954 while the Baguio-Bontoc National Toll Road was established also in the 1950’s.
With the passage of Republic Act 8794 on June 27, 2000 entitled, “Aan Act imposing a motor vehicle  user’s charge on owners of all types of motor vehicles and for other purposes,” the collections are deposited in special trust accounts in the National Treasury.
The Cordillera is the major supplier of vegetables in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and even the entire country while most farmers come from Benguet and Mountain Province who have to take these toll roads to bring their farm produce to their  destinations.
In an interview, Dalog said that with toll fees collected by virtue of EO 34 and RA 8794, road users are technically being charged twice.
“They are mostly farmers from Benguet and Mountain Province transporting their agricultural products to La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post or directly to Manila. With the collection of toll fees, farmers are left with no recourse but to increase farm prices of vegetables and pass on the expense to retailers and consumers,” he said.   
Dalog said  among major reasons why he filed such measures on national toll road is that the fees being collected therein are not retained in the area for road maintenance but is remitted to the national fund.
Funds for repair and maintenance of roads need to be requested from the Department of Public Works and Highways which is usually tedious and time consuming. 


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