Saddled with a billion-peso debt, the Muntinlupa government is now eyeing a share of the profits generated by expressways within its boundary.
The Muntinlupa City Council is considering passing an ordinance that would impose business taxes and fees on the operators of the Skyway system and South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).
Once approved, the ordinance will require the Skyway Operation & Maintenance Corp. (SOMCO) to pay the city a business tax amounting to half of one percent of its income based on total receipts.
It will also force the Philippine National Construction Corp., part-owner of SLEx operator South Luzon Tollway Corp., to secure a mayor’s permit from Muntinlupa and pay the requisite fees for its toll facilities located in the city.
“We are not looking to impose an additional burden on motorists using the Skyway system. What we are trying to do is provide for the welfare of our constituents and we believe there are enough legal bases for us to act on this,” Mayor Jaime Fresnedi said in a statement.
He told the Inquirer that he estimated that the city would earn at least P1 million a year with the implementation of the ordinance.
Fresnedi said there was a Department of Finance circular order that authorizes local governments to collect franchise taxes for toll booths within a city’s jurisdiction.
The South Metro Manila Skyway Project stretches from Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati to Alabang in Muntinlupa. A four-kilometer stretch of the Skyway spans across four of the city’s barangays (villages).
On the other hand, a 10-kilometer stretch of SLEx within Muntinlupa runs from Barangay Sucat all the way to Barangay Tunasan. The expressway connects Metro Manila with the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Fresnedi expressed optimism the proposed measure would help increase the money in the coffers of the city which, according to him, inherited a debt of P1.5 billion from the previous administration.
A public hearing between the city council and concerned stakeholders has been set Tuesday on the proposed ordinance.
The Inquirer tried to contact Somco legal head Ronald Guillermo for comment but efforts to reach him failed.