Press Release
September 5, 2011

Steep hike akin to rewarding inefficiency
Go easy on raising fees & charges of gov't agencies

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday said government agencies raising their fees and charges this year should prove to the public that they deserve the additional centavos or pesos that would be paid to them in exchange for their sometimes sloppy and corruption-ridden service.

Recto said government should likewise go easy on the planned increase in fees and charges in the face of looming adjustments in toll fees due to VAT, water and electricity rates, "sin taxes" and even the continued oil price increases.

"The agencies signaling their intention to raise their fees and charges should prove beyond doubt that they are deserving of the additional centavos that the transacting public would shell out," Recto, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, said.

He noted that some agencies listed down by the Department of Finance (DOF) as gearing up to raise fees have been consistent "hall of famer" in the corruption or inefficiency department.

Recto cited the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which plans to raise its port fees and charges by 50% to 200%, which have consistently landed in the top five most corrupt agencies in respectable surveys done in 2009, 2010 and in March 2011.

"With the missing container vans and collection shortfall as background, allowing BOC to raise fees is tantamount to rewarding corruption and inefficiency," he pointed out.

He said even the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is among the first agencies sought out by job seekers for their 'prized' document, could not even provide seamless service in disposing their NBI clearance document, leaving thousands of young unemployed distraught and disappointed. The NBI plans a 50-percent increase in its fees.

Recto stressed other agencies like the Professional Regulation Commission, National Telecommunications Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission should also justify their planned 20% to 30% increase in fees and charges.

The senator nevertheless criticized the Department of Energy (DOE) for also planning to raise fees despite its failure to fully assure the seething public that the series of oil prices hikes that were enforced by oil companies were not overpriced or rigged.

"Just like Julius Caesar's wife, these agencies must be above suspicion and reproach," Recto stressed.

He added: "There should be a rhyme and reason for the increase in fees and charges. We could, after all, bear parting with our few centavos or pesos as long as we know that these agencies have performed well and deserving of our hard-earned tax peso."

Recto nevertheless said for increases that are really necessary and deserving, the government could adopt a two or three-step hike to cushion its impact on the public.

A DOF official has announced that some agencies, which are in the frontline of government service, will have to raise their fees and charges by as much as 200 percent to shore up non- tax revenues for an estimated annual incremental revenue of P4.15 billion.

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