by Angel Grace D. Untalan, JUNE 2021
If you had a dollar every time a friend outside of the company asks you about our expressway rates, or if you could give them a free pass through our toll gates, how rich are you going to be?
Amusingly rich, one might say. But what’s even more amusing is that not all of us may be familiar with how these toll rates came about— and more often than not, family and friends curiously ask about it.
If you are hard pressed for answers, the basics of its process might interest you.
First, what exactly are toll rates? It is the backbone of our industry and the implementation of the same allows a reasonable rate of return on our investments, subject to the supervision of the Toll Regulatory Board (“TRB”).
Upon TRB’s authorization, these rates provide us the necessary means to pursue improvements and repairs to ensure that our expressways are convenient and safe for the use of the public.
TRB, as the regulator, is empowered by P.D. No. 1112 or the Toll Operation Decree to issue, modify, and promulgate, from time to time, the rates of toll to be charged to expressway users, and upon notice and hearing, to approve and disapprove petitions for any increase regarding the same.
To conduct the review of the reasonableness of these rates, TRB also seeks the aid of other agencies, which may include COA, to properly justify the approval of any proposed rates which is supported by other relevant data.
Upon due filing of a Petition by toll road companies praying for the approval or implementation of either the initial or adjusted toll rates which the TRB should find sufficient in form, it shall issue an Order to publish the subject Petition in a newspaper of general circulation, including a Notice to All Expressway Users, to give the public, or any interested party the chance to file a Petition for review, or opposition within a period of thirty (30) days after the date of such publication, anchored in our constitutional right to be informed on matters of public concern.
If there is no petition for review or opposition, the TRB shall proceed with the review and resolution of the Petition, in accordance with the merits of the application, taking into consideration the standards enumerated under Sec. 7, Rule 4 of the 2013 TRB Rules.
Some of the data which may support the merits of the Petition may include the latest Consumer Price Index for Metro Manila (National Capital Region) from the National Statistics Office, as well as recent exchange rates between the Philippine Peso and the US Dollar, as determined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Under the 2013 TRB Rules, relevant taxes and projected traffic may also be considered.
Ideally, after duly reviewing the Petition, TRB issues an Order in writing indicating its decision on the matter.
Prior to the release of a Notice to Start Collection, considering that the approval of TRB has been secured, toll road companies will be required by the Board to publish again an updated toll fare matrix before the same may be implemented for collection.
Likewise, any interested expressway users may file within a period of thirty (30) days from the date of the first publication of such Notice, a petition for review with the TRB.
Further, should the relevant section or segment of an expressway is found to be substantially completed and is safe for commercial operations, the TRB will also issue a Toll Operation Permit laying down the conditions for its continuing validity, as well as the required compliance of the toll facility in accordance with the provisions of applicable Concession Agreements, Operations and Maintenance Manual and Procedures, Minimum Performance Standards and Specifications, as well as other applicable laws and regulations.
2013 TRB Rules – https://trb.gov.ph/downloads.html
About the writer:
Angel Grace D. Untalan. A Legal Management graduate with an inclination to pursue the field of higher arts. She is moderately comfortable with social interaction, but can also relish her time off from the crowd. Her works are influenced by distinguished screenwriters such as Gene Roddenberry, George R.R. Martin, and Quentin Tarantino. She aspires to become a law practitioner at The Hague, who has published papers in a Scopus-indexed journal at some point in the future.