Toll fee collection in CAR: a brief history and its implications

>> Thursday, March 23, 2017

 By Atty. Willibroth B. Managtag

(First of three parts)

            On May 20, 1954, Executive Order No. 34 was issued by then Pres. Ramon Magsaysay declaring that portion of Benguet Road (Kennon Road) from Klondyke’s Spring to Camp 6 as Toll Road and directed the collection of Toll Fees. Accordingly, Toll gates were put up in Camp 1 and Camp 6, both in Tuba, Benguet. However, the purpose of the collected fees was not stated in the executive order.
                On the other hand, it is believed that the Baguio-Bontoc Halsema Highway toll road was established earlier than the Kennon Toll Road. The toll gate was erected at Acop, Tublay, Benguet. Personal accounts of persons who were born before WWII, like Dr. Allyson Belagan, attest that the Baguio – Bontoc Halsema Toll Road was established earlier than 1954. Likewise, the purpose of the collected toll fees is not also clear.
                Thus, to say that the collected toll fees were used for the maintenance of said roads is plain surmises.
                At present, these national toll roads are called the Baguio-Bontoc Halsema Highway Kennon National Toll Roads (BBKNTR)           
                On May 27, 1975, P.D. No. 711 was issued abolishing all existing special and fiduciary funds and transferring to the general fund the operations and funding of all special and fiduciary funds. Section 2 thereof provides, “x x x. All taxes, levies, fees, imposts and other income of special and fiduciary funds duly authorized under existing laws shall remain and shall accrue to the General Fund.” Thus, the collected toll fees in Kennon Road and in Tublay, Acop, Benguet, were all remitted to the national treasury.
                On September 22, 1976, P.D. No. 1004 was issued providing in Sec. 1 thereof that “[t]oll fees collected from Kennon and the Baguio-Bontoc Halsema Roads are hereby exempted from the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 711 and are hereby authorized to be disbursed exclusively for the maintenance, repair and improvement of the said roads in accordance with the program of work prepared by the Highway District Engineer of Benguet and approved by the Highway Regional Director concerned.”
                However, on November 8, 1977, P.D. No. 1234 was issued expressly repealing P.D. No. 1004. Section 1 thereof states;

“[a]ll income and collections for Special or Fiduciary Funds authorized by laws shall be remitted to the Treasury and treated as Special Accounts in the General Fund, including the following:

(i)Other offices and agencies of the national Government-owned or controlled corporations. All income derived from measures authorized by law, including receipts from taxes, duties, dues, fees, charges, levies, fines, imposts, rates, gains or any other collection, revenues which are exempted by law from coverage of P.D. No. 711 or otherwise earmarked by law for specific activities or which otherwise accrue directly to such offices or agencies, including government-owned or controlled corporations, ”

Up to the present, the collected toll fees are remitted to the national treasury.
                In June 27, 2000, R.A. 8794 otherwise known as the MOTOR VEHICLE USER’S CHARGE (MVUC) or Road User’s Tax was approved into law. Sec. 2 thereof provides, “there is hereby imposed on every motor vehicle, whether for hire or private use, including government motor vehicle, a Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) which shall be collected from and paid by the owner of the motor vehicle.”
                Section  1 of the law provides; “It is hereby declared as the policy of the State to provide for and ensure the adequate maintenance of national and provincial roads through sufficient funding for the purpose.”
                Section 7 of the law provides; “All monies collected under the Act shall be earmarked solely and used exclusively (1) for road maintenance and the improvement of road drainage, (2) for the installation of adequate and efficient traffic lights and road safety devices, and (3) for air pollution control.”
                Second paragraph of Section 7 provides, “[a]ll such monies collected shall be deposited in four (4) special trust accounts in the National Treasury, namely: (1) Special Road Support Fund; (2) Special Local Road Fund; (3) Special Road Safety Fund; and (4) Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund.”
                Except for the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund, which is under the DOTC, now DOTr, all the first three special funds are under the DPWH.
                Paragraph 4 of Section 7 provides, “seventy percent (70%) of the Special Road Support Fund shall be used exclusively for the maintenance of, and the improvement of drainage of, national primary roads.”
                Paragraph 7 of Sec. 7 likewise provides, “[a] Road Board to implement the prudent and efficient management and utilization of the special funds shall be organized by the President of the Philippines. X xx.”
                Finally, Sec. 10 of the law provides; “No other tax, fee or any other charge of similar nature, as the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge shall be imposed by any political subdivision or unit in the country.”


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