Higher car tax an option to help ease Metro traffic

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SENATOR Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said that there are many options available for the incoming administration to address the traffic mess in Metro Manila, one of which is the passage of a new tax law that would discourage people from buying brand new vehicles.

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Pimentel, the incoming senate president, said that although the government could halt the sale of new vehicles in order to stop the increase of vehicles on the streets, he said that it would not look good for everybody.

“Theoretically, we can halt the sale of new cars, but there is a better way to do it,” Pimentel noted.

According to the senator, since the decision of buying a new car relies on the individual, a new tax law could be passed that would make it economically disadvantageous for a person to buy a brand new vehicle.

“Hit them in the pocket by raising the tax. Make it very expensive. That’s another way of doing it,” Pimentel added.

But since it is a proposed tax law, it should originate from the House of Representatives and the Senate will have to wait for its passage before the chamber could tackle it.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in its 2014 study estimated that the country is losing about P2.4 billion daily due to traffic.

Too much vehicle volume is the main reason for the traffic congestion because new vehicles are coming out on the streets but there were no new roads constructed to accommodate the increase.

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said vehicle sales for 2016 could reach a new high of 350,000 units.

In the absence of a policy that could somehow halt the uptrend in vehicle sales the country could be looking at 500,000 units by 2020.

The incoming administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte said that it would ask Congress for emergency powers to address the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila.

Some senators however, are not that enthusiastic about granting the request, noting that they want to see the details and the extent of the additional powers being asked by Duterte.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said that he is open to granting emergency powers because the traffic problem has reached crisis proportions, but there should be safeguards to ensure that the people and the government will not be short-changed.

“We have to be careful that with emergency powers, they do not take away the element of competitive bidding, because that is our safeguard,” said Angara, who is set to chair the senate committee on ways and means.

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