BAGUIO CITY – The City Council passed a resolution strongly supporting and endorsing the immediate passage of House Bill Nos. 4570 and 4571, otherwise known as “An act terminating the collection of toll fees along the portion of the Benguet road, popularly known as Kennon road, from Klondyke spring to Camp 6 and along Halsema highway, repealing for the purpose Executive Order No. 34, series of 1954 as amended.”
The resolution authored by all members of the local legislative body stated the local government supports the immediate passage of the two bills to solve the demand of road users against paying multiple fees, traffic jams, road accidents, increment of selling or ceiling price of products and a potential source of corruption among those involved in the collection of toll fees.
The resolution added the proposed bills will address the imposition of double fees charged to private motorists and will likewise protect the interest of small businesses, legitimate wholesalers, retailers, travellers and farmers from the indigenous peoples from the different parts of the Cordillera who are almost hopeless due to the fees collected along the two roads.
House Bill Nos. 4570 and 4571 seeks to terminate the collection of toll fees along the portion of the Benguet road popularly known as Kennon road, from Klondyke spring up to Camp 6, and along the Halsema highway, particularly at Acop, Tublay, Benguet and repealing for the purpose the provisions of Executive Order No. 34, series of 1954 as amended are now pending deliberations before the relevant committees of the House of Representatives.
The proposed bills seek to permanently terminate the toll fees collected along Kennon road and the Halsema highway considering that such collection is reportedly being repetitious and purely adverse to the wisdom of Sections 2 and 10 of Republic Act No. 8794 also known as the Road Users Tax.
Earlier, the provincial board of Benguet passed a separate resolution strongly supporting the passage of the two pending bills before the House of Representatives as that the two roads are already developed, thus, there is no longer a need to collect toll fees for the maintenance of the Kennon road and Halsema highway.
The resolution added it is unfortunate that it is only in Benguet among all the provinces in the country that toll fees are being collected from motorists travelling along Kennon road and the Halsema highway or the Baguio-Bontoc Road, apart from fees they must pay when passing through the toll gates established by the government for the collection of the required toll fees.
Copies of the approved resolution will be forwarded to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional and central offices which had been tasked to administer the toll gates and the collection of toll fees, the House and Senate committees on public works for their information, guidance and appropriate action.
Proceeds from the collection fees along Kennon road and Halsema highway are being used for the maintenance of the two major roadlines interconnecting the Cordillera to the different parts of Northern and Central Luzon.
By Dexter A. See