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Senators want travel tax scrapped

August 22, 2019

SENATORS Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Emmanuel Pacquiao and Francis Pangilinan have filed their respective bills seeking to abolish the travel tax collected in air and sea ports.

Senators want travel tax scrapped 1

The three senators said the imposition of travel tax is unreasonable and curtails the right to travel.

“The government should not shift the burden of improving our substantially inadequate tourism facilities and infrastructure to the regular traveling Filipinos who are already paying a huge chunk of their salary to the national government via income tax,” Pimentel said in filing Senate Bill (SB) 91.

Pangilinan, who filed SB 631, said the 63-year-old tax is an additional and unnecessary burden.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao, in his SB 384, cited the Asean Tourism Agreement the Philippines entered into with members of the Association of

Southeast Asian Nations on Nov. 4, 2002 phasing out the travel levies and travel taxes on traveling nationals of Asean member-states.

Fourteen years since the Philippines became signatory to the said agreement, travel taxes are still being collected, he said.

Pacquiao said the allocation of travel tax to tourism-related educational programs of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has no clear connection to traveling.

“Rather, it imposes an unnecessary burden to travelers and thereby reduces their right to mobility,” he said.

Under Republic Act 9593 or the “Tourism Act of 2009,” 50 percent of the travel tax collection is given to the Tourism Infrastructure and

Enterprise Zone Authority while 40 percent of the proceeds are allotted to CHEd’s Higher Education Development Fund and the remaining 10 percent is given to the NCCA.

Currently, the travel tax ranges from P300 to P2,700.

“The portions of the collection allocated to the CHEd and the NCCA, although provided by law to be utilized in tourism-related programs, are extraneous. These must be directly funded from the General Appropriations Act,” Pangilinan, said.

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