A MALACAÑANG official admitted that the imposition of 12 percent expanded value added tax (e-VAT) on toll fees may affect the transport costs, including fares, but is necessary to generate funds for pro-poor programs and in keeping the deficit down.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar, in an interview by Radyo ng Bayan, said the additional tax is legal and would not be implemented by the Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) if it was otherwise.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

"Itong mga ginagawang bagong patakaran at programa ng BIR: number one, ito ay nasa loob ng batas...at ikalawa, ito ay alinsunod sa ating objective na lakihan... iyung revenues ng pamahalaan para patuloy nating pwedeng gatusan yung stimulus spending at ang ating mga programang para sa mahihirap at para makaiwas din tayo sa napakalaki masyadong deficit," he said.

The deficit target for 2010 is P233.4 billion.

Olivar enjoined the public to understand and cooperate with the program, admitting that the effect of the e-VAT on toll fees would be immediately felt by the motorists.

He said the good thing about the e-VAT is that whether it is leveled against motorists or against anybody else, there would be little occasion for corruption or non-payment because it is immediately collected and included on the toll.

"So, yes magkakaroon nga ng epekto sa ating mg transport system pero inaasahan naman natin na ang kapalit nito ay mas malaking benepisyo at madadagdagan ang gastusin ng pamahalaan para sa mahihirap at sa stimulus at makaiwas nga tayo sa deficit sapagkat kung lumaki itong deficit, lalaki ang ating borrowings," he added.

The imposition of the e-VAT on toll is expected to be implemented starting April 1.

Makati Mayor and vice presidential aspirant Jejomar Binay, however, chided government for the move, citing that Reformed Vat Law of 2005 did not mention such "dubious plan." (JMR/Sunnex)