CEBU

Nalzaro: Giving PUJ/taxi drivers costly incentives

Saksi

THE government, whether local or national, imposes taxes so it can generate revenues. A local tax is a tax assessed and levied by a local authority such as the local government units (LGUs), city and municipality. Local tax is usually collected in the form of property and business taxes and is used to fund a wide range of basic services from garbage collection to building roads, medical services and many more. LGUs have a share of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the National Government. For LGUs like Cebu City, which plays host to casinos operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), they also get a monthly share from the state-run gaming corporation.

But aside from providing basic services to the public in terms of projects, there a lot of politicians who are making laws that provide financial assistance to a particular sector in our society which, for me, is a total waste of government funds. Some are doing this to satisfy their political ends. Some politicians treat government funds as their personal money, giving doleouts and freebies here and there just to be called “champions” of these particular sectors.

During the last campaign period, the previous administration went on a “doleout” rampage, giving incentives to various sectors like barangay officials, barangay health workers and even Angkas and habal-habal drivers. They provided a sack of rice to each habal-habal driver because they were affected by the intensified operation of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) against motorcycle taxi, which are really illegal. But we know already the real intention of the “generous giver.” It was to ostensibly court the votes of this sector because it was election time.

Cebu City gives a big chunk of its annual budget to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD). An ordinance providing the same incentives for single parent is under review at the City Council. And now, here is another ordinance giving incentives to public utility jeepneys and taxi drivers who have no traffic violation within the validity of their driver’s license.

South District and Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan stalwart Eugenio “Jun” Gabuya filed an ordinance, “granting cash reward in the amount of P10,000 for qualified drivers of public utility jeepneys and taxis as described herein who did not incur any traffic violation upon renewal of his/her driver’s license and appropriating funds thereof.”

Gabuya, in his explanatory note, said “it is indisputable fact that most of the traffic congestion or problems in all public roads, streets and highways in Cebu City are attributed to the rude behavior and irresponsible attitudes of drivers.” Although, there is no mention about the requirements and qualifications of the drivers, but I believed the supposed driver-beneficiaries should be based in (meaning their units are plying routes within the city) and are residents and voters of the city.

The amount is chargeable to Pagcor funds, which the City is receiving monthly. This proposed measure has been referred to the committee on laws for further review.

For me, Gabuya’s proposed ordinance is unnecessary. It’s nonsense and a total waste of taxpayers’ money. If we give incentives to a particular sector, give it to those who work and help the government like teachers and barangay health workers. What is the intention of Gabuya? That there will be fewer traffic violations because some drivers are after and are thinking of the incentive? Tht the drivers will not commit traffic violations because they don’t want to be penalized? And why public utility vehicles drivers only? Why not include the private drivers.

Here are my suggestions: instead of giving direct financial incentives, why not give them economic benefits? Like giving them free drug test at the Cosap office or eye examination through city health doctors when they renew their licenses. Or ask the LTO to give them a little discount when they renew their driver’s licenses if they have clean records. Or the City can shoulder the renewal of their driver’s licenses. I think that will cost P2,000, including the drug test, which is much, much lower than P10,000. The incentive is too costly. Simple.


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