85 LGUs Being Investigated by DILG for Collecting Illegal "Pass-Through" Fees

Article excerpt

85 local government units (LGUs) are now under investigation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for collecting illegal “pass through” fees from delivery trucks transporting livestock and other products.   DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno directed all concerned regional directors of the department to immediately investigate the 85 LGUs that have been reported to be charging “pass though” fees in violation of the provisions of the local Government Code (LGC).   Based on reports reaching the DILG, the “pass through” fees being collected by the concerned LGUs were in the form of charges for quarantine, inspection and supervision, miscellaneous, traffic clearances, permits, and stickers.   In February, Puno warned local chief executives to stop charging “pass through” fees from delivery trucks carrying certain products, including foodstuff and other agricultural products, as such acts are illegal under the LGC.   The Secretary issued the warning after President Arroyo ordered him to look into numerous complaints from producers, manufacturers and wholesalers about LGUs imposing these illegal fees despite the provisions clearly stated under the LGC that limits and sets the taxes, fees and charges that can be imposed on delivery trucks.   Of the 85 LGUs, 39 are municipalities, 21 are cities, 10 are barangays (villages) and 15 are provinces. Of the identified LGUs, 17 are from the Calabarzon area, 16 from region 2, 12 from region 3, and the remaining from the other regions.   Puno said LGUs which continue to collect “pass through” fess or any illegal charges in spite of an earlier warning from the Department will face administrative and criminal charges before the Ombudsman or the Office of the President.   Last week, 11 LGUs that were reported to be collecting pass through fees were investigated and are now under evaluation.   According to the DILG, the act of LGUs in collecting such fees, even if the same are covered by ordinances, constitute both administrative and criminal actions, which the Department may refer to the Office of the Ombudsman which has jurisdiction over administrative and criminal cases of all elective officials. …