PNCC partially turns over P420M of toll revenues

THE Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) has already remitted P420 million to the national treasury, representing partial reimbursement of the toll fees it collected since 2007 when its franchise   expired.

PNCC president  Ma. Theresa Defensor said the agency turned-over the amount despite rulings from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) that the collections were “corporate funds” and, therefore, should be kept by the agency.

Defensor said PNOCC “owed” the national government a total of P2.7 billion of toll fee revenues that it collected at the South Luzon Express Way (SLEX) after its franchise expired April 30, 2007.

She said the P420 million has been remitted in the course of three years.

“Even without clear legal basis and no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), we turned over P420 million or 16 percent of the total,” she said in an interview.

She said PNCC has been authorized by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to continue collecting toll fees by virtue of a toll collection certificate, designating it as the collection agent of the government.

Defensor said the publicly-listed toll road company is selling its 20 percent stake in the South Luzon Tollway Corp. (SLTC) to cover the remaining balance.

She said they used the toll fee revenues for maintenance of the SLEX and other expenditures.

She said the Department of Finance (DOF) has estimated that PNCC’s 20 percent stake in SLTC should fetch at least P3.6 billion.

The DOF has ordered  PNCC, a company acquired by government, to immediately remit to the national treasury all its toll fee collectons since May 1, 2007.

The DOF said the PNCC said could no longer keep its toll fee collection since this power was tied to its franchise, which was not extended by Congress before the expiry date.

The finance department said the PNCC is now acting as agent of the national government and should, therefore, surrender all its toll fee revenues to the state coffers.

Earlier estimates placed the government’s collectibles from the PNCC at P7.5 billion.

“You are hereby instructed to remit immediately to the National Treasury all toll fees you have collected since the date your franchise expired,” the DOF said in a letter to PNCC dated July 16.

PNCC operates a portion of the SLEX and has a 20 percent stake in the SLTC, which operates the large expanse of the toll road up to Calamba, Laguna.

Aside from earning dividends, PNCC is entitled to a 1.75 percent cut in the gross revenues of SLTC, which is calibrated to go up to 3 percent eventually.

Lawmakers have attempted to cure PNCC’s franchise woes as early as 2006 when a bill was filed extending the franchise of the company by another 25 years.

The bill, filed by former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, made it to the third reading in the lower house but failed to get a Senate counterpart.

Formerly known as Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), the PNCC, which is 75 percent owned by government,  was granted a 30-year franchise under Presidential Decree 113, later amended by Presidential Decree 1894. That franchise has expired on April 30, 2007. Dino Ng

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