Aquino kin to collect Luisita toll again | Inquirer News

Aquino kin to collect Luisita toll again

/ 10:45 PM November 03, 2011

Signages are displayed along a road inside the Hacienda Luisita announcing the collection of a service fee for the road's upkeep and maintenance. The road links MacArthur Highway to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in Tarlac City. PHOTO COURTESY OF BCDA/FILE PHOTO

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Starting Nov. 7, motorists using the San Miguel Road, a private road inside the 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita owned by relatives of President Benigno Aquino, will be required to pay toll whenever they take this route to get in and out of the government-built Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

Motorists were notified about this plan through three billboards which were put up on Wednesday, although a cease and desist order (CDO) served by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) on June 2 remained in effect, according to TRB spokesperson Julius Corpuz.


The notices did not state the name of the company that ordered the collection or the firm that it authorized to collect the fees, Corpuz said when asked for details.

“The TRB directors have been informed [about the content of the billboards] and the course of action is now being explored should they decide to reimpose the fees,” Corpuz said.


Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., one of the owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) and who answered media queries on the same issue last year, did not reply to a call and text by the Inquirer.

In a text message last June, Cojuangco identified the Brown International Corporate Services Inc. (Bicsi) as the company collecting the fees. He did not reply when asked who contracted Bicsi to do the task.

In June, tickets turned in by motorists to the Inquirer bore the names “JCSI-Bicsi” and “SCI-MAC.”

Lawyer Antonio Ligon, counsel of HLI, reiterated on Thursday that the company has nothing to do with the collection of toll, which Cojuangco referred to then as “pass through fees” amounting to P20 for cars, P50 for minibuses, vans and small trucks, and P100 for large buses and trucks.

Ligon said the HLI could not be collecting fees on that road because it belongs to the Tarlac Development Corp. (TDC).

The road passes through HLI’s 2.7-kilometer road, which was extended to the 5-km TDC road, he said.

Cojuangco said the fees would be used to maintain and repair the San Miguel Road.


According to Corpuz, the June 2 CDO drew three replies from HLI, Jose Cojuangco and Sons Inc. (JCSI) and Bicsi.

“They wrote us in TRB to tell us that they’re suspending the collection out of courtesy but this is not a waiver of their right to collect toll for the road,” Corpuz said. “They consider the CDO invalid.”

A TRB check with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Bicsi is doing services for JCSI.

The plan to impose and collect toll, or pass through fees, was not consulted with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, according to Arnel Paciano Casanova, president and chief executive officer of the agency.

“We are not supporting it,” he said. “We are of the understanding that [the road] should be for public use and for free.” This, he added, was the “consideration for building the [Luisita] interchange there.”

The 94-km SCTEx was expected to link the Luisita Industrial Park to the Clark and Subic freeports. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Hacienda Luisita, Regions, Road Transport, SCTEx, toll fee
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