House gives 3rd reading approval to road tax measure tying funds to PUV modernization 

House gives 3rd reading approval to road tax measure tying funds to PUV modernization 

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill tying the motor vehicle user charge (MVUC) proceeds to support the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

With 247 yes votes, four no votes, and one abstention, legislators passed House Bill No. 9647.

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8794 or the Motor Vehicle Users’ Charge law, which gives the President the authority to adjust MVUC rates.

For-hire vehicles will enjoy a 50% discount from fees, while motorcycles below 400 cubic centimeters and tricycles will be exempt.

The proposed law also allocates 45% of incremental revenue from the program to finance the PUV modernization program, while 5% will go to government road safety programs.

House ways and means committee chairman and Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda called the measure “progressive,” as 52% of car-owning households belong to the “richest percentile.”

Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, who voted against the bill, said many small-vehicle owners will be affected.

“Instead, fixing the current public mass transport system will reduce dependence on imported vehicles,” she told the plenary.

Also on Tuesday, legislators approved on third and final reading a bill proposing to create a multi-year strategy that would help link domestic enterprises to global value chains.

During the plenary session, 251 legislators voted in favor of House Bill No. 8525 or the Tatak Pinoy bill. None voted against or abstained on the measure.

“At a time of a globally integrated development, this bill seeks to promote the Filipino brand to be recognized as a world-class brand that offers high quality products and services,” Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo, the principal author of the bill, said in its explanatory note.

The proposed law aims to establish the Tatak Pinoy strategy to improve and diversify local enterprises, linking them to global value chains.

It also seeks to expand the capacities of micro, small and medium enterprises to produce world-class products.

Ms. Quimbo said that the proposed law was drafted in response to Philippine participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP is considered the world’s largest free trade agreement, involving Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

Citing the International Trade Center, Ms. Quimbo said the Philippines has an estimated $27.8 billion in unrealized export potential to RCEP partners over the next five years.

The five “pillars” of the Tatak Pinoy Strategy include manpower, infrastructure, technology and innovation, investment, and public fiscal management.

The measure also seeks to establish a supervisory council that would manage and propose improvements to the strategy, with the National Economic and Development Authority Secretary as chair and the Trade and Finance Secretaries as vice-chairs.

During the Tuesday plenary, 251 legislators voted in favor of amending the procurement law, with a measure granting preference to domestic suppliers and establishing a single portal for electronic procurement. Three legislators voted against the bill, while none abstained.

The measure aims to adopt a single electronic portal known as the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System for all procurement activities from planning to implementation.

It also seeks to establish an electronic payment system through the Budget department and the central bank for procuring entities.

Meanwhile, the proposed blue economy bill was approved on third and final reading with 254 yes votes, three no votes, and zero abstentions.

House Bill No. 9662 seeks to establish a framework for the sustainable use of the Philippines’ marine resources through a National Marine Council and rename the National Coast Watch System to the National Maritime Monitoring System.

The blue economy is an economic model seeking the sustainable utilization of ocean resources through green infrastructure and technology. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz