Escudero urges Duterte to reconsider decision to hike fuel tax in 2019
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the implementation of the fuel tax increase next year.
If not, Escudero said the President can at least consider the immediate suspension of the increase when inflation becomes uncontrollable again anytime in 2019.
The senator made the call through Senate Resolution No. 964, which he filed on Wednesday.
“It is best to suspend the implementation of the second tranche of fuel excise tax right away or that the suspension be swift in 2019 so as to effectively address inflation, before it again directly affects the lives of every Filipino,” Escudero said in the resolution.
Inflation, he said, has already reached a nine-year high in September at 6.7 percent.
Escudero also cited the “erroneous” projection last October that the price and multiple estimates of crude oil from Dubai would stay at an average price above the $80 per barrel threshold for the next two months.
The price of Dubai crude oil, however, has gone down in November, he said.
“Considering the previous erroneous projection in October, certainty becomes nil at best and no assurance can ever be had either by the President or the public itself that high prices of goods and services will never happen, not to mention the fact that election spending will definitely exacerbate inflation in 2019, an election year, where demand-pull inflation may likely occur,” said the senator.
Postponing the next round of increase, he said, would unburden consumers who are already affected by the high price of goods due to this year’s increase on fuel tax.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Escudero said, the implementation or suspension of the excise tax on fuel would depend upon the recommendation of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) to the President.
In October, Duterte announced that he would temporarily suspend the increase next year if the price per barrel would hit $84.
But upon the recommendation of his financial and economic managers, the Palace announced that the government would proceed with the fuel tax hike starting January next year. /jpv
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