June 24, 2024

Two Cordillera lawmakers have re-filed bills seeking to terminate the collection of toll fees along Kennon Road in Tuba and Halsema Highway in Tublay, both in Benguet.

Reps. Maximo Dalog, Jr. of Mountain Province and Eric Yap of Benguet have filed House Bills 1047 and 1048 in the 19th Congress.

HB 1047 seeks to terminate the collection of toll fees along the portion of Kennon Road from Klondyke’s Spring to Camp 6. HB 1048 seeks to terminate the collection of toll fees at the portion of the Halsema Highway. 

Both proposals seek to repeal Executive Order 34, s. 1954 as amended, which was the basis for the toll gate collection. 

The proposals stated only the Cordillera has a national toll road in the country, known as the Baguio-Bontoc Halsema Highway-Kennon National Toll Road. 

This comprises three toll gates in camps 1 and 6 along Kennon Road and in Acop, Tublay along Halsema Highway.

The collection of fees at the national toll gates were suspended due to the pandemic.

The proposals stated with the passage of the Republic Act 8794, toll collection at Kennon Road and Tublay, are no longer necessary.

RA 8794 is the law that imposes a Motor Vehicles Users Charge on all types of motor vehicles. Collections are deposited in special trust accounts in the national treasury.

The trust accounts include the Special Road Support Fund and the Special Local Road Fund which are used by the Department of Public Works and Highways for the maintenance and improvement of primary and secondary roads throughout the country. 

The proponents said with the toll fees imposed for road users on Halsema Highway and Kennon Road under EO 34 and the Motor Vehicle User’s charges under RA 8794, those traversing Halsema Highway and Kennon Road are being charged twice.

Dalog and Yap said most of those who traverse the road are farmers from Benguet and Mountain Province who bring products to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post or Metro Manila. Efforts were earlier done in seeking for the closure of the toll gates, with the provincial board of Benguet backing the bill crafted by the late Reps. Maximo Dalog Sr. of Mountain Province and Nestor Fongwan, Sr. which sought to repeal EO 34 issued by President Ramon Magsaysay on June 1, 1954. – Ofelia C. Empian