19th Congress urged to suspend fuel taxes, junk oil deregulation law
MANILA, Philippines — The suspension of excise and value-added tax (VAT) on fuel and the junking of the oil deregulation law should be the priority of the 19th Congress, a group of public transport drivers and operators said Tuesday.
Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) said that suspending the levy and VAT on fuel would serve as immediate relief against the surge in prices of petroleum products and inflation.
“Kahit na napakataas na ng presyo ng diesel, yung halos P16 na kada litrong buwis na mababawas sa P90/litrong kasalukuyang halaga ng diesel ay makakatulong na para sa pang-araw-araw ng mga hikahos na tsuper,” Piston National President Mody Floranda said in a statement.
(Even when diesel prices are costly, some P16 of the liter tax that will be reduced from the P90 per liter cost of current diesel will be helpful to the everyday needs of indigent jeepney drivers.)
To resolve the oil price hikes, Piston proposed the junking of the 1998 Oil Deregulation Law, which, according to them, allowed fuel prices in the country to go unchecked.
The group, citing estimates from research group IBON, said that since the law was enacted, oil companies in the country “overcharge around 20 to 22 percent on petroleum products compared to actual price increases set by Dubai crude.”
“Kaya hiling namin sa mga mambabatas sa paparating na 19th Congress, bukod sa pagsuspinde sa fuel excise tax at VAT, iprayoritisa rin nila ang pagbabasura sa Oil Deregulation Law,” Floranda said.
(We wish lawmakers in the 19th Congress, besides suspending fuel excise tax and VAT, to prioritize the junking of the Oil Deregulation Law.)
Meanwhile, Piston said House Bill No. 10823, which seeks to amend the oil deregulation law through the unbundling of retail fuel prices, has been pending in the House of Representatives after securing approval at the committee level last March.
With incoming president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. favoring assisting those in need rather than suspending fuel excise, the group said the next administration should ensure the urgent distribution of aid as the “poor can’t simply wait for BBM to fix his government first.”
“‘Yung fuel subsidy nga na noong Abril pa inaprubahan hanggang ngayon eh marami pang hindi nakakarating sa mga tsuper,” said Floranda.
(Some of the fuel subsidies that were approved in April have not reached jeepney drivers until today.)
“Ang mas nararapat na agarang solusyon, ay suspensyon ng mga buwis sa langis at ang kagyat at mabilisang pamamahagi ng ayuda. ‘Yung diresto na dapat sa mga tsuper at maliliit na operator, wala nang paligoy-ligoy pa,” he added.
(The appropriate and immediate solution is to suspend the fuel taxes and the urgent and prompt distribution of aid. It should be distributed directly to jeepney drivers and small operators, no beating around the bush.) — Xander Dave Ceballos, INQUIRER.net intern
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