Senate panel pushes for suspension of excise tax on fuel
After conducting a public hearing in Iloilo City on Friday, the Senate committee on public services chaired by Senator Grace Poe recommended the suspension of excise taxes on petroleum products.
“Hihilingin natin sa Department of Finance at sa ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na pag-aralang mabuti ang suspension ng excise taxes sa fuel dahil sa walang humpay na pagtaas ng presyo ng produktong petrolyo,” Poe said before concluding the hearing.
“Bilang tulong sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na sa mga mahihirap, dapat na pag-aralan ng ahensya ang pagpapaliban sa full implementation ng TRAIN Law, partikular sa fuel excise taxes, dahil lahat ng produkto ay apektado nito,” she added.
Poe’s recommendation came after people complained about the alleged effect of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law on inflation, which was at 4.5 percent in April.
During the hearing, consumer groups blamed TRAIN law for increasing fuel costs—which resulted in the rise of the prices of basic commodities. According to the groups, there was an increase in the prices of rice (P5 per kilo), pork (P15 per kilo), and fish (P20 per kilo).
Representatives from different sectors also said prices for both diesel and gasoline fuels in the region have increased by P10 since December 2017, forcing farmers to shell out an additional P2,600 to P3,640 per month.
Poe noted there is a provision in the TRAIN law, which provides for the suspension of excise taxes due for 2019 if crude oil prices rise to $80 per barrel for three months.
“We’re looking at that (provision), para makatulong naman tayo kasi I’m sure ‘yong pamasahe nagkukulang na rin para doon (transportation sector),” she said.The senator said the public hearing was conducted in Iloilo to address the concerns of people far from Metro Manila.
“Wala nang mas magandang paraan upang malaman ang kalidad ng paninilbihan ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno o ng mga negosyong mayroong prangkisa kundi ang direktang pakinggan ang mga customer nila,” Poe said.
“Naririnig po natin ang daing ng mga nahihirapang kababayan natin dala ng TRAIN Law at subukan nating makapagpanday ng posibleng sistema ng pag-ayuda,” she added. /vvp
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