Pro-admin solons reject proposal to suspend fuel excise tax to ease inflation
Updated (3:25 p.m.)
Two pro-administration lawmakers on Monday rejected plans to suspend the excise tax imposed on fuel products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, arguing that this would impair the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo earlier proposed to suspend the imposition of hefty excise tax on kerosene and diesel in a bid to ease the continuous rise in the overall prices of basic goods and services or inflation rate in the country.
“Tingin ko economic managers na ang titingin diyan at titignan nila ‘yung talagang epekto nito, at executive prerogative ‘yan (I think the economic managers should look into this and it is really an executive prerogative,” Deputy Speaker and Batangas 2nd District Rep. Raneo Abu said.
Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, meanwhile, said doing so would be a “kneejerk reaction from a politician who wants to look good before the public.”
“Ang kneejerk reaction ng pulitiko para maging gwapo ka eh alisin natin ‘yung excise tax, madali po ‘yan (This is a kneejerk reaction of a politician who wants to boost his image by propising to scrap the excise tax. That would be eass),” he said.
“Ang maapektuhan po nito ang ating imprastrukturam ang ating Build Build Build program… Maraming maaapektuhan, maraming mawawalan ng trabaho (This would affect the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Many will also lose their jobs),” he added.
Abu said there are no plans to repeal the TRAIN law from the side of the majority bloc, adding that the public would eventually feel the gains from the first tranche of the government’s comprehensive tax reform program.
“Ika nga relax muna tayo… Mararamdaman din natin yung gains. Kahit tayong ordinaryong tao eh, ‘yung sakit sa panganganak eh sa una natin nararamdaman pero pag nailuwal na natin naroon na ‘yung saya (Let’s relax…we will soon feel the gains. Even ordinary people feel the pain, but later it will be welcome),” the lawmaker said.
Batocabe backed this, saying: “Bawat una ay masakit talaga (It is painful at first).”
The TRAIN law imposed higher excise taxes on fuel products, cars, tobacco, and sugar-sweetened beverage. But it also increased the tax-free cap of the 13th-month pay and other bonuses to P90,000, as well as the tax income exemption to P250,000.
Under the tax reform law, future increases in excise duties on fuel could be suspended if world oil prices reach $80 per barrel.
Reps. Quimbo, Jorge Banal, Jose Christopher Belmonte, Gabriel Bordado, Jr., Raul Daza, Jocelyn Limkaichong, and Josephine Ramirez-Sato filed House Bill 8171 last Sept. 3.
In an interview on Monday, Quimbo said the bill seeks a moratorium on the imposition of excise taxes on kerosene and diesel and a permanent removal of said duties. He explained that kerosene and diesel are two fuel products mostly used by poor families.”(It also aims to) Suspend ‘yung pagpataw ng scheduled increase ngayong (the imposition of the scheduled increase on) January 1 for both kerosene and diesel na nag-aaverage ng P3 increase per liter,” he added, noting that 67 to 70 percent of kerosene and diesel users are poor. /ee
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