Solons nix hike in gov’t feesBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines—Despite an assurance from Malacañang that increases in fees of government services due to Administrative Order 31 will be reasonable, some lawmakers on Friday insisted that they were against it.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño and Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino said it was unfair for the government to hike charges on its services during trying times.
Before implementing such increases, Casiño said the government should “first strive for efficiency, show the taxpayers that their money is put to good use.”
He pointed to recent Commission on Audit reports which indicated that there were still a lot of areas that government agencies needed to improve on before it slaps higher fees.
“What about the recent COA report that the government lost P101 billion in the last years to corruptions, inefficiencies and irregular expenses?” asked Casiño.
Palatino lambasted the effects of AO 31 which he said could hike the costs of “acquiring NSO-certified birth certificates, to passport processing and even document certification in various government offices… (at a time when) the country is in a perennial crisis, our people are hungry and jobless.”
Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone however sees AO 31 in a different light. He urged fellow legislators to first study the new order from Malacañang, saying he felt that the present rates on government services were already “obsolete.”
“I believe that these adjustments can be justified if the frontline services will be improved also,” he said.