Home Top Stories ARTA cracks down on LGUs imposing pass-through fees on goods transportation

ARTA cracks down on LGUs imposing pass-through fees on goods transportation

Local government units have been warned to stop collecting pass-through fees from transport vehicles carrying goods. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ EDD GUMBAN

LOCAL government units (LGU) that continue to impose pass-through fees on goods transportation may be investigated under new guidelines from the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

Policies or ordinances imposing taxes and fees on goods being transported to or through local government jurisdictions will be assessed, according to the joint memorandum circular (JMC) signed by ARTA, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“All local chief executives are enjoined to adhere to the new guidelines refraining the enforcement that effect fees in local ports, and other additional taxes, fees or charges in any form upon the transport of goods or merchandise,” ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica said at a briefing on Wednesday.

“We created an oversight committee that will check on the progress,” he added.

Under the circular, all DILG regional offices must submit consolidated local ordinances on fees and make sure that no new ordinances related to goods transport fees are passed.

ARTA in turn will review regulations and probe erring government officials, potentially recommending their preventive suspension. Non-complying LGUs may be subjected to fact-finding investigations, the results of which may be forwarded to the appropriate judicial body.

The Department of Finance must monitor the compliance of local treasurers and assist local government units in amending their revenue code.

The DILG in 2018 had already passed a circular banning LGUs from collecting illegal fees on goods transport.

“However, the DILG continues to receive complaints that some local governments still charge fees, taxes and charges on the transportation of goods and products,” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the new circular clarifies in detail the actions to be taken by each local government unit and national agency.

“There are three agencies that will make sure that this JMC is implemented strictly down the line,” he said.

“There is a provision for sanctions. If, for example, there will be violators, and not only the three agencies but we can also ask the Ombudsman and even courts if…there are bases for filing of cases against violators.”

ARTA is working on developing a “unified logistics pass” QR code that would replace all stickers needed to transport goods across LGUs, port authorities, economic zones, and checkpoints. — Jenina P. Ibañez