Bayan Muna warns: Additional fuel tax, oil price hike may affect prices of goods
MANILA, Philippines – The government should reconsider the imposition of additional fuel taxes, intended to fund the COVID-19 response, as a big-time oil price hike is set to be implemented this week, party-list group Bayan Muna suggested on Monday.
According to Bayan Muna leaders Rep. Carlos Zarate and chair Neri Colmenares, the 10 percent increase in fuel tax, coupled with the impending oil price increase, will have an effect on basic commodities, which are transported by vehicles that use petroleum products.
This in turn would impact people especially those who have been living on tight budgets since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented since March due to the pandemic.
“Grabe ang magiging impact nito sa mamamayan na dalawang buwan na walang maayos na pinagkakitaan at ang marami pa nga ay nawalan ng trabaho. Ang gagawin lang kasi ng mga kompanya ay ipapasa ang dagdag buwis na ito sa mamamayan,” the lawmaker explained.
(This would impact the people, especially those who have been left without work and those who lost their jobs. What the companies would do after the taxes is to pass this on to the consumers.)
“With the big oil price hike, the 10% increase in fuel tax under Executive Order 113, even if supposedly temporary, would have adverse effects on Filipinos, especially now that some areas are already in general community quarantine (GCQ) and more are to follow this week,” Colmenares added.
The 10 percent increase in oil products like crude oil, unleaded fuel, gasoline, and diesel was mandated by Executive Order 113, which was signed President Rodrigo Duterte last May 2.
Oil prices have slumped since the COVID-19 pandemic started, due to low demands as several countries imposed lockdowns which forced people to stay at home. For most of March and April, unleaded gasoline prices played at around P33 per liter, and premium at P35.
But earlier, at least two oil companies announced oil price hikes worth P2.00 per liter for gasoline, P1.90 for diesel, and P1.25 for kerosene.
Both Zarate and Colmenares said that even if the funds generated from the scheme would help the government’s efforts, it would be useless if the burden would be also passed on the people.
Earlier, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that only 89.42 percent of the social amelioration program (SAP) beneficiaries have received the aid, a day after the extended deadline passed.
“Sabihin man ng pamahalaan na para ito magkapondo panlaban sa COVID-19, pero, in the end ang magpopondo pala nito ay ang mamamayan din pala, mismong mga dapat bigyan ng ayuda,” Zarate explained.
(Even if the administration says that it is intended to generate COVID-19 funds, but in the end the people would still the ones to fund it, those who should have been given social aid.)
“Para na naman tayong ginigisa sa sariling mantika at tayo pa ang pinabili ng bawang at sibuyas. Sana ay bawiin na lang ito ng presidente para di na maging pabigat pa sa mamamayan. Natuwa tayo na nangako ng tulong ang gobyerno. Iyon pala babawiin sa atin sa pamamagitan ng dagdag na buwis,” Colmenares added.
(It’s like adding insult to injury. We hope the President would retract this executive order so that it does not provide an additional burden to people. We were happy that the government promised financial assistance, but it turns out that the funds would be also sourced from us through taxes.)
The Department of Health said on Monday that there are now 11,086 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 726 casualties and 1,999 recoveries. Worldwide, over 4.102 million persons have been infected, 282,709 of which have died while 1.408 million have recovered.
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