LTO report shows rising risk

Motorcycle accidents have just cracked the top 10 leading causes of death among Filipinos. This is according to a report from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in connection with the Department of Finance’s proposal to increase the road user tax by at least 300 percent.

Motorcycle accidents are now the ninth leading cause of death among Filipinos.

LTO chief Edgar Galvante said motorcycle crashes were not in the top 10 causes of death “five years, 10 years ago.”

In the same report, Ischemia-related (an inadequate supply of blood to an organ or part of the body, especially the heart muscles) heart problems were reported to be the number one cause of death among Filipinos, followed by cancer, pneumonia, cerebrovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, other heart ailments, respiratory tuberculosis, chronic lower respiratory infections and diseases of the genitourinary system.

This is in strong contrast to the last report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey on Filipino deaths in 2016, which showed that road crashes were not among the top causes of death. The same report stated a total of 582,183 Filipino deaths were reported in 2016, or an average of 1,591 per day, 66 per hour and one per minute, the PSA report showed.

The LTO presented the report in connection with the Department of Finance’s proposal to increase the road user tax by at least 300 percent. In response to that proposal, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Ways and Means Committee Chairman, filed a bill that hopes to exempt seven million motorcycle owners not only from the increase but from the entire road user tax as well. Salceda argues that vehicle owners other than motorcycles “have more money” and can shoulder the burden.

Currently, 11 million owners of motorcycles and other vehicles pay the levy to the LTO in the form of higher annual registration fees. Of the 11 million vehicle owners, 7 million are motorcycle owners, three million more than cars and all other vehicles combined.

Currently, motorcycle owners enjoy a flat rate of PhP 240 MVUC per year. Vehicle owners' MVUC depend on the year and age of their vehicles, with additional levies charged depending on their vehicle's gross vehicle weight and type. If the DOF's proposed increase is approved, it will increase MVUC for motorcycles from PhP 240 up to PhP 720. If motorcycles are spared this increase, that may amount to PhP 3.3 billion that will have to be collected from larger vehicles.

The LTO’s report could serve to justify the Department of Finance’s position to impose a higher road users tax on all vehicles, including motorcycles, due to their higher likelihood of getting into an accident resulting in death.

The bill is currently being discussed by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.