Press Release
August 23, 2011

Villar cautions gov't against increasing fees

Sen. Manny Villar cautions government against implementing the plan to raise fees imposed by agencies as part of efforts to contain the budget deficit.

 Villar, chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs, said aside from looking at the projected increase in government revenues, there is a need to assess the effects of the planned increase in fees on the ordinary citizen who regularly transact business with government agencies.

"The economic managers of the country must look behind the data, figures and statistics because any increase in the rate of government fees will result in an increase in prices of goods, services, commercial transactions as well as trade that are regulated or directly deal with these government agencies," Villar said.

Villar noted that the government is facing a budget deficit of around P300 billion or 3.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and that the slowdown in global trade constricted the economy to a lower growth rate of 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

 In a budget hearing, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima revealed that the administration plans to raise the fees and charges imposed by government agencies to contain the budget deficit.

 "Nakakalungkot na sabay-sabay na nga ang pagtaas ng presyo sa petrolyo, transportasyon, bilihin, at marami pang iba, narito pa ang gobyerno na gusto ring magtaas ng presyo. Lalong mahihirapan ang mga mamamayan. Dapat tingnan uli ng finance department and planong ito at timbangin ito nang husto," Villar said.

These fees include those charged by the Land Transportation Office, the Land Registration Authority, National Statistics Office, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board and the National Bureau of Investigation.

 "Special attention must be given to the effect of the proposed increase on the most vulnerable sectors of our society most specially that as early as February 2011, the recorded inflation rate already reaches 3.5 percent," he added.

 Villar filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 568 directing the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs and the Committee on Trade and Commerce to look into the proposed increases and assess the economic as well as the financial impact of its implementation on the people.

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