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Anti-red tape body probing villages that charge entrance fees

THE ANTI-RED Tape Authority (ARTA) is investigating local governments that continue to charge fees on transported goods despite a circular banning the practice. 

In a statement on Tuesday, ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said they found that a number of villages were violating the order issued in April.

Those that charge banned pass-through fees may be investigated under guidelines issued by ARTA, the Department of Finance and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The circular covers any taxes and fees on transported goods, including wharfage charges and fees for stickers, toll, discharge, delivery, entry and mayor’s permits.

The DILG in 2018 passed a circular barring local governments from collecting illegal fees, but the agency continued to receive complaints.

The new joint circular could be used to file cases against violators with the Office of the Ombudsman, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said.

ARTA is also working on developing a “unified logistics pass” QR code that will replace all stickers needed to transport goods across villages, port authorities, economic zones and checkpoints. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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