MINORITY SENATORS: SUSPEND, ROLL-BACK EXCISE TAX ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS NOW

Minority senators have filed a joint resolution suspending the excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and mandating the rollback of levy on fuel to December 31, 2017 rates.

Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon and Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes and Leila de Lima submitted Senate Joint Resolution No. 15 as they called on their fellow lawmakers to take a unified stand on suspending the excise tax on fuel.

In their joint resolution, the minority senators stressed the need for the urgent intervention of the Congress of the Philippines to mitigate the inflationary effects of rising fuel prices by suspending the increases in excise tax on fuel under RA No. 10963.

“We are hopeful that the Senate will take a unified stance on suspending the excise tax on fuel for the millions of Filipinos burdened with the rising prices of goods,” the minority senators said in a statement.

With President Duterte’s latest pronouncement that the government will look into the possibility of suspending excise tax on fuel, the minority senators are hopeful that their colleagues will support the initiative.

“Napilitan na ang Pangulo na pag-isipan ito. Ipahayag na natin agad-agad na suportado ng Senado ang pagtigil ng excise tax sa petrolyo,” the minority senators emphasized.

“Halos isang taon na naghihirap ang mga pamilya sa krisis natin sa presyo. Kailangan na natin ito pagtulungan at trabahuin,” they added.

Since the implementation of the TRAIN Law on January 1, 2018, the minority senators pointed out that gasoline prices have already increased by as much as P10.50, diesel prices by P12.00 and kerosene by P14.12. Inflation, for its part, has gone up from beyond the government’s target of 2 to 4 percent, to 6.7 percent in September.

With prices of oil in the world market breaching the $80 per barrel barrier and with the scheduled additional P2 levy on fuel in January 2019, the minority senators said there is a pressing need to suspend the excise tax under the TRAIN Law.

“Magkaisa sana ang Senado para bigyan ng ginhawa ang mga Pilipino,” they emphasized.

With the support of the minority, Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo sa Petrolyo Bill as early as May 10, 2018, seeking to suspend the collection of excise tax on fuel once inflation rate breaches the annual inflation target over a three-month period.