THE HOUSE ways and means committee has approved a measure amending the law regulating motor vehicle user charges (MVUCs).

The bill “imposes an optimal motor vehicle road users tax for all private or for-hire motor vehicles including government-owned (vehicles),” Quirino Rep. Midy N. Cua told the committee.

For-hire vehicles like cars, PUVs, buses, trucks and trailers will receive a 50% discount on the MVUC, while motorcycles and tricycles are exempt, according to Ms. Cua.

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8794 or the Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge law, which gives the President the authority to adjust MVUC rates.

House ways and means chairman and Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda called the measure “progressive, given that around 52% of car-owning households belong to the richest percentile.”

Revenue from the MVUC will finance the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, providing 45% of incremental revenue, as well as the government’s road infrastructure and safety programs, which gets 5%.

“The earmarking for PUV modernization will be enough for an equity subsidy of P500,000 per unit,” Mr. Salceda said.

Ms. Cua added that the measure will have a multi-tiered structure and rate increase in three years. In the fourth year, a single rate will apply to all types of motor vehicle whether private, government, or for-hire.

Finance Undersecretary Maria Cielo D. Magno said the measure “would be very supportive of the needs of the Filipino people for seamless mobility that would provide safe, reliable and sustainable road systems.”

“The MVUC rates were last adjusted in 2004 and have not been adjusted since,” Wilman Ramo of the National Tax Research Center said.

Move As One Coalition Co-Convenor Robert Y. Siy said the bill will solve the country’s “mobility crisis” and road congestion problem.

Modesto Floranda, president of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide said the MVUC will add to the financial burden experienced by those in the PUV industry.

The panel accepted an amendment from Electric Vehicle Expansion Services, Inc. President Yuri Sarmiento, which called for a “bias towards the promotion of active transport and the use of green technology” which will also be to the advantage of domestic vehicle manufacturers. 

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in April that the MVUC will raise up to P15.8 billion in revenue during its first year and will hit P48.6 billion by the third year.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. called for the passage of the measure in his State of the Nation Address on Monday. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz