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Police told to stop collecting road users' tax
Marlon Ramos, Inquirer News Service (19 Aug 2004 Updated 23:25:23 Mla time)

LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES: Malacañang and the provincial government of Laguna came closer to a collision course over the road users' tax issue as police began enforcing President Macapagal-Arroyo's order to stop collecting the tax in the province.

The Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) police office Wednesday directed all provincial police units to arrest anyone who collects the tax from delivery vehicles in the region.

The order came a few days after Laguna Gov. Teresita Lazaro defended the taxes and said the provincial government would continue to collect them.

Lazaro said the tax was very minimal "since it had been pegged at P500 since 1994."

But Chief Supt. Reynaldo Varilla, Calabarzon police director, instructed the police chiefs of LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES: Malacañang and the provincial government of Laguna came closer to a collision course over the road users' tax issue as police began enforcing President Macapagal-Arroyo's order to stop collecting the tax in the province.

The Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) police office Wednesday directed all provincial police units to arrest anyone who collects the tax from delivery vehicles in the region.

The order came a few days after Laguna Gov. Teresita Lazaro defended the taxes and said the provincial government would continue to collect them.

Lazaro said the tax was very minimal "since it had been pegged at P500 since 1994."

But Chief Supt. Reynaldo Varilla, Calabarzon police director, instructed the police chiefs of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces to apprehend checkpoint personnel "who illegally levy taxes or fees along the national road within your respective areas."

He said the order was in response to complaints raised by members of the business sector during the third "Pulong Bayan" (town meeting) of Ms Arroyo inside the Ford Compound in Sta. Rosa town two weeks ago.

In that meeting, businessmen complained against the P500 tax imposed by Laguna officials for using national roads. This irked President Arroyo who immediately ordered a stop to the tax collection.

The President also challenged Lazaro to sue her in court over the road users' tax issue.

Senior Supt. Ernesto Cuizon, Calabarzon police public information officer, said they would inspect all checkpoints in the region that were set up to collect fees from delivery vans.

"We are just being consistent with the policy of the government and the call of the President to protect the interests of the business sector by ensuring that no unlawful charges will be collected from them," Cuizon told the Inquirer.

In a letter to Varilla, Director Avelino Razon, Philippine National Police operations head, said taxes collected from motorists using the main highways of Southern Luzon and some parts of Mindanao obstruct the free flow of goods in those regions.

Razon said the fees also contribute to the rising costs of merchandise being sold in the provinces.

He said while the Local Government Code allows local governments to impose taxes, such fees should not exceed P500 annually.

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Vehicular air pollution > Transportation and traffic management
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Philippine Daily Inquirer

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