Press Release
June 20, 2010


"UNCONSCIONABLE" is how SENATOR Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. branded the decision of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) allowing the South Luzon Tollway Corporation (SLTC) to increase toll fees on South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) by 250 percent

He said the improvement on the 27-kilometer SLEX, which connects five provinces - Cavite , Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Bicol - to Manila , does not justify the increase.

He called on the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), TRB's mother agency, to defer the implementation of the new toll rates until the board explains the approval of SLTC's petition.

"I challenge them (TRB and SLTC) to justify such increase by making the computation transparent to the public. It seems that the local government units affected in the toll fee hike, transport groups, and other sectors were left out and were not consulted," Bong Revilla, chairman of the Senate Public Works and Public Services committees, said.

The new toll rates - P77 for light vehicles, P155 for buses and P232 for heavy trucks and trailers - will be implemented on June 30. The current rate is 75 centavos per kilometer.

Bong Revilla reminded the TRB that its primary consideration should be the interest of the public - the expressway users - and not the operator's.

"It should exhaust all means before approving the 250 percent increase," he said.

At the same time, Bong Revilla exhorted the DOTC to study the possibility for the government to subsidize a portion of the rates by using the road user's tax. He also said that he will ask the Senate when it opens in July to study this possibility, and if necessary, to come up with a law that will allow such subsidy.

The road user's tax which is generated from registration fees of motor vehicles, provides funds for road maintenance; special local road fund; and for road safety fund - such as installation of traffic lights and safety devices.

The senator further expressed apprehension on the effect of the new toll rates.

"Prices of basic commodities, which are being transported to and from Manila , will also increase. Fares will also expectedly increase, and workers living in the outskirts of Manila will have to carry this brunt. Parents and students will likewise be burdened with the fare adjustments as a result of the toll fee hike," he warned.

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