Mixed reactions over SLEX toll rate hike

LAWMAKERS today expressed differing views over the announcement of Malacanang to implement the toll rate increase on the South Luzon Expressway on a staggered basis, saying the gradual increase can still be a burden to the public.

Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan (Party-list, GABRIELA) said she does not believe a gradual increase can soften the impact of the toll increase.

“It’s like killing them softly as traders will also pass on their payments to the consumers,” Ilagan said.

Ilagan said the hike comes at a time when there are also other increases in basic utilities and services.

“A toll increase, even if gradual, can still be a burden to the riding public,” Ilagan stressed.

Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora-Apsay (1st District, Compostela Valley), however welcomed and lauded the decision of Malacanang to implement the SLEX toll rate increase on a staggered basis.

“This shows that while the Aquino administration needs to honor contractual obligations by the government, even those entered into by the previous administration, it is not oblivious to the clamor and the plight of the people particularly those who use the SLEX,” Zamora-Apsay said.

Zamora-Apsay said with the increasing confidence of the Filipinos in the Aquino government, the economy is expected to continue its upswing movement as shown by present economic indicators.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said the toll hike will be divided into two tranches — the first one in January 2011 and the last tranche will be after three months.

He also said that the toll rate increase will not have any significant impact on the macro-economy. D’Jay Lazaro

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