Senate to tackle fuel tax freeze as anti-inflation measure
The Senate will conduct an inquiry into the suspension of the excise on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act as an anti-inflation measure, according to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, chair of the committee on economic affairs, filed Senate Resolution No. 917 after President Duterte said he was open to suspending the second tranche of the excise on fuel.
Inflation hit 6.7 percent in September despite government efforts to mitigate the inflationary effects of the TRAIN law. It was the highest in nine years, bringing the year-to-date rate to 5 percent, or above the government target of 2 to 4 percent.
“This Wednesday we will have a hearing, and the theme is the President’s declaration of the possible suspension (of the fuel excise tax). So we will look at its effects on the prices of products, the 2019 budget for programs and the economy,” Gatchalian said in a radio interview on Sunday.
In his resolution, the senator warned that “additional inflationary pressures” were expected to be felt in the coming months, citing higher global oil prices, minimum wage increases, higher airline fares due to fuel surcharge, petitions for additional fares by buses, taxi and jeepneys, weather disruptions and the further weakening of the peso. —Julie M. Aurelio
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