Villarin on second round of oil excise tax hike: ‘Cold-hearted opportunism’
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin on Friday slammed as “cold-hearted opportunism” the plan of the economic managers of President Rodrigo Duterte to proceed with the second tranche of oil excise tax hike set on January 2019 “just when consumers are able to breathe again because of decreasing oil prices.”
“Cold-hearted opportunism!… They are the Grinch of Christmas squeezing whatever happiness people feel as yuletide nears. They can’t wait for inflation to taper off nor for people to enjoy whatever their money can bring to the table this Christmas,” Villarin said in a statement.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law mandates a P2 per liter fuel excise tax hike scheduled by January next year.
Malacañang suspended it earlier in November on the recommendation of economic managers, but Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said they would recommend that Malacañang push through with the hike due to easing prices of international crude.
Villarin said he stands by Akbayan party’s proposal to repeal the excise taxes on fuel, as suggested in his House Bill No. 8545.
“Akbayan maintains that excise taxes on commonly used petroleum products under TRAIN law should altogether be repealed to mitigate the effects of unpredictable and fluctuating oil prices to the budgets of the working class Filipino consumers,” he added.
The opposition lawmaker also chided Duterte’s economic managers and urged them not to be a “burden to consumers.”
“Let’s not greet the New Year with new problems because of higher taxes on fuel and then faced with another oil crisis. Perhaps our economic managers can try not being a burden to consumers as a New Year’s Resolution,” Villarin said.
An excise tax of P2.50 a liter was imposed on diesel and bunker fuel starting this year due to the TRAIN Act. This would go up to P4.50 in 2019, and P6 in 2020. The excise tax on gasoline also increased to P7 in 2018, and then to P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020.
But Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno defended the plan to push through with the hike saying inflation will remain on target in 2019. /muf
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