Fuel excise tax scrapping discussed, but other options being considered – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Although President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s most recent Cabinet meeting reportedly addressed removing excise taxes on fuel products, Malacañang said that officials are looking at other options to help the transportation sector cope with the new oil price hike.
Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil said during a briefing on Tuesday that plans and programs would be announced soon by Cabinet officials.
“Kanina sa Cabinet meeting merong discussion about that pero nagko-consider sila ng mga options,” she told reporters.
(Earlier in the Cabinet meeting, there were discussions about that, but they are considering other options.)
“In time mag-aannounce po sila I’m sure ng mga specific plans and programs to address that issue,” she added.
(In time, they would announce, I’m sure, the specific plans and programs to address that issue.)
As to Marcos’ announcement earlier that the Department of Energy (DOE) had already allowed a petroleum company to start surveying drilling locations for oil exploration at the Cadlao oil field in Palawan, Garafil said that this move shows the intention of the administration to lower oil prices.
In a statement released by OPS, Marcos said DOE allowed Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty. Ltd. to start the site survey in their service contract areas by the last quarter of 2022 — which may lead to oil production as early as the second half of 2023.
“May pinalabas kami kanina na press statement mismo ng ating Pangulo na itong Cadlao oil field sa Palawan ay mare-revive ang kanilang drilling operation, at pinapakita lang nito ang commitment ng pangulo na maghanap ng mga locally-sourced oil products, or oil exploration projects para matugunan ‘yong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” Garafil noted.
(We released a press statement earlier from the President himself regarding the Cadlao oil field in Palawan, where the government would revive the oil drilling operation, and this only shows the commitment of the President to find locally-sourced oil products or oil exploration projects to address the rising prices of fuel products.)
On Monday, there were calls from consumer groups and progressive organizations to stop collecting excise and value-added taxes from fuel products to curb the rising prices.
After a series of rollbacks, fuel prices increased on Tuesday, with diesel users hitting the most, with a P6.50 per liter increase in most pump stations.
In a statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) called out the Marcos administration for failing to reduce oil taxes despite their repeated calls. Bayan noted that targeted subsidies are not enough to stop the adverse effects of oil price hikes.
“In the past 100 days, Marcos Jr. refused to even reduce only the massive oil tax. Instead, the government imposed a fare hike which only shifted the burden on commuters,” Reyes said in Filipino.
“Targeted subsidies are also not enough to stop the negative effect of the oil price hike on the transportation sector and the whole economy,” he added.
Initially, Marcos agreed that there was a need to suspend excise taxes on oil to curb rising prices, but after winning in the 2022 polls, said that his administration would focus on other ways to address the hikes — like providing targeted social aid.
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