Bongbong Marcos nixes suspension of fuel excise tax, to explore other options
MANILA, Philippines — President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said on Thursday that there are other ways to address the rising cost of fuel aside from merely suspending the excise tax on oil products.
In a press briefing streamed on his Facebook page, Marcos said that they are looking at possibly supporting hard-hit areas instead of fully suspending excise taxes, as the government needs funds for its projects.
“I think there are other ways to handle the increase and the disturbances that we are having in terms of the petroleum products that we are importing. We can support those areas na tinamaan kaagad ng pagtaas ng presyo ng langis (hit by rising oil prices) — number one there was transport. And this is important because transport is going to be critical in the resurgence of the economy,” he said.
“So in terms of oil excise tax, I think we still have to look at that very well. If there is a commensurate return to somehow deferring the collection of the excise tax, syempre (of course) the government needs the money, mahirap ang gobyerno sa pondo ngayon, the government needs the money,” he added.
Several groups have called for the suspension of the oil excise taxes after fuel prices kept increasing due to several factors — including the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Pump prices for regular unleaded gasoline are currently at between P74 to P80 per liter, while diesel is at around the same price.
Last April 25, progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan asked presidential candidates to unite towards the call to suspend excise tax, after a fresh round of oil price hikes. The administration remained firm that social aid would be provided to hard-hit families instead of the tax suspension.
Marcos however stressed that if there would be a study showing that removing excise taxes on fuel products would be beneficial, then he may push for it — something that his economic team will be tackling in the first week of the new administration.
“Pero kung talagang makikita… may ano naman yan e, pag sinabi mong tanggalin natin yung excise tax o bawasan natin yung excise tax, ano yung magiging effect dun, talaga bang worth it ba na mawala yung pondo o income ng gobyerno kasi mas magiging maganda naman ang effect sa ekonomiya and makabawi tayo,” Marcos said.
“So we have to study that. It’s still a cost-benefit analysis and it’s not simple but that’s what we will have to do. But of course that will be one of the areas under intense study in the first few weeks,” he added.
Observers and sectors are expecting a lot from Marcos as the country is beset with several problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Marcos also revealed more members of his economic team, aside from incoming National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
The President-elect said current Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno will head the Department of Finance, while former University of the Philippines president Alfred Pascual will be the next Department of Trade and Industry secretary.
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