Press Release
August 5, 2016

Recto seeks 6-year ban on gov't fees hike

No price increase for passports, driver's licenses, permits and other government documents in the next six years.

Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto today moved to stop the national government and local government units from raising fees and charges on public services within six years to spare Filipinos from spending more on inefficient service.

In a bill filed at the Senate, Recto stressed that government must impose a six-year moratorium on all increases in government fees and charges to "provide relief for our countrymen who can barely afford to avail of these services."

The bill, called "Iwas Dagdag Singil at Bilis Serbisyo Act", seeks to impose the moratorium "in the meantime that the government pursues systems and procedures improvement for better delivery of government services."

Recto noted that the national government and local government units have been collecting more than P53 billion annually from fees derived in the regulation of certain activities such as the issuance of various licenses and permits, regulation of the different professions and the issuance of passports and drivers' license, among others.

He said the National Government alone, as reported by the Bureau of Treasury, collected P36.406 billion in 2015 from fees and charges for services rendered.

The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), in its 2014 Annual Report released last October 2015, also reported that local governments through the BLGF's Revenue Generation Program collected P17.36 billion in fees and charges for 2014, exceeding their targets and posting a collection efficiency of 104.20%.

"The efficiency of our government employees in the collection of these fees and charges is truly admirable. It is our sincerest hope that they also show the same level of zealous efficiency in the delivery of these services," the senator said.

Recto said what he is calling for is a moratorium on any hike in fees for documents and permits issued by the government, "and not a rollback."

"This is without prejudice to refunds government agencies should grant the public like in the case of car registration stickers which have not been delivered," he said.

Recto lamented that while public coffers are kept brimming partly due to collection from government fees and charges, the government has been frequently under fire for various complaints with regard to the inefficient delivery of public services.

"There have been numerous reports on the delays in the processing of clearances and in the release of documents and licenses. In the light of these criticisms regarding inadequate government services and coupled with the escalating increases in the cost of living, increasing the current rates for these fees and charges is not justifiable," Recto said.

Recto pointed out that even the World Bank, in its 2016 Report on 'Ease of Doing Business' which pegged the Philippines at 103rd place out of 185 economies, noted it takes an average of 29 days to obtain the necessary permits to start a business in the country.

"President Duterte, who is the former Mayor of Davao City, has always been proud of the fact that in Davao City it takes only 3 days to obtain permits from city hall," the senator said.

"If other local government units can perform a service in only 3 days, there should be no reason why other local government units and other national agencies cannot do the same," he added.

Recto explained that the process for obtaining these permits and licenses are essentially the same, regardless of where you are getting them.

"The fees and charges imposed for the delivery of these services is for the cost of producing them. The salaries of the government employees who are tasked to perform them are already paid for by the taxes we pay. Thus, there should be no disparity in efficiency among our agencies," he stressed.

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