Robredo favors tax exemptions over outright fuel excise tax suspension
DAVAO CITY — Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed openness to calls for tax exemptions amid high prices of oil products instead of outrightly suspending excise taxes, saying that the revenue-generating programs of the government should also be taken into consideration.
Robredo during the Kandidatalks forum hosted by GoNegosyo and OnePh aired on Friday explained that around P2 to 3 billion worth of revenue may be lost every month if the government suspends the excise taxes on fuel products.
However, with the rising oil prices, she said that the government may opt to be selective as to who can avail for tax exemptions, or what products can be exempted.
“Pagdating sa langis, kailangan nating desisyunan — marami ‘yong mga proposals, halimbawa, ang proposal ‘yong automatic suspension ng excise tax. ‘Pag nagsuspend ng excise tax ‘yong matatanggal sa cost ng langis ay mga 10 pesos per liter, malaki rin ‘yon,” Robredo said.
“Pero ang tanong, kaya ba nating saluhin ‘yong mawawala na revenues sa gobyerno? Ang tantsa, mga between P2 to 3 billion a month ‘yong mawawala na revenue sa gobyerno, saan natin ‘yon huhugutin?” she asked.
Under a socialized suspension of excise taxes, fuel products generally used by the public — like diesel, which is a staple in public transport and pieces of machinery used for farming and fishing — may see a suspension in excise taxes.
However, gasoline products that most private cars use will see no excise tax suspension. But that would also mean that most taxi cabs using gasoline would not get any reprieve except for a possible social aid.
Robredo however said that making decisions on these issues is always a balancing act — to ensure that the majority of Filipinos would benefit from the government’s policies.
“Meron ding proposal na maging socialized ‘yong exemption sa tax — halimbawa ‘yong gasolina, kasi mas mayayaman ‘yong nagagamit ng gasolina, ay ‘yong ‘yong i-tax more. Halimbawa ‘yong mas mahihirap, ‘yong gumagamit ng kerosene o ng diesel, dapat mas maliit din ‘yong taxation sa kanila,” she said.
“So ang daming decision points na kailangan nang gawin ngayon, parati naman siyang balancing act eh. Parati siyang balancing act kasi number one ‘yong gusto natin, ano ‘yong pinaka-magaan para sa mga kababayan natin. Pangalawa kailangan din natin i-take into consideration ‘yong kailangan na revenues ng gobyerno,” she added.
Since the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February, oil prices in the country have soared, with prices in some pump stations during the second week of March reaching over P80 per liter for both diesel and gasoline.
Oil prices have subsided since last Tuesday, but they still roam between P65 to P75 per liter — higher compared to prices last December 2021.
The Department of Finance shot down proposals to suspend excise taxes for all fuel products, offering instead a P200 monthly aid to poor families in the country. However, several groups and candidates for the 2022 national elections claimed that such a subsidy — which may not be worth four liters of fuel — is not enough.
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