A few days after the imposition of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) on toll and as the House of Representatives deliberates on bills repealing the measure, an alliance called on Congress to repeal the tax on tolls.
“In implementing the measure, Pres. Aquino has failed the Filipino people. We therefore look to our legislators for junking the VAT on tolls,” said Sammy Malunes, spokesperson of Taxpayers’ Unity vs. Toll Hike in the South Luzon Expressway (TUTOL-SLEX).
“Not everything legal is fair and pro-people. Just because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of imposing the VAT on toll does not mean that it should be done,” he added.
“For approving the VAT in the first place, Congress should look into the VAT’s imposition on tolls and repeal the measure,” he said.
According to the group, the unanimous Supreme Court decision approving the VAT on tolls was based on provisions of existing laws that are faulty. It said that even authors of the VAT law, such as Sen. Ralph Recto, are saying that tolls should be VAT-exempt.
“We call on the public to put pressure on the country’s legislators. Let us push them to doing something to scrap the heavy burden that is the VAT on tolls,” Malunes added.
Supporting VAT exemption bills
TUTOL-SLEX said that while the House Bill seeking to repeal VAT has already passed the committee level, bills calling for VAT exemptions, such as House Bill 5303 authored by Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño is a necessary compliment towards the right direction to give immediate relief to the people especially if the marathon hearing pushes through.
“Considering that the toll fee in the SLEX is the most expensive among toll fees, exempting the SLEX from the VAT on toll will provide an immediate relief in these times of high prices and stagnant wages,” Malunes said.
After the deliberations, the Committee on Ways and Means approved to consolidate the bills calling on tax exemption on tollways.
“We call on the legislators to ensure making expressways affordable for the masses. Expressways should be public service. If not, we can’t help but say ang mahal naman sa tuwid na daan ni PNoy,” Malunes ended. Sammy Malunes, TUTOL-SLEX Spokesperson