By Mario Casayuran
The suspension by the Duterte administration in the collection of two percent excise tax on fuel starting January to tame inflation should only be the last resort.
This was stressed by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, who said the suspension option should only be exercised if mitigating measures are not in place.
‘’We’ll file a resolution to hear the revised inflation targets and how it will affect the budget and also the policies next year, in particular, the second round of TRAIN 1 (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) because may dagdag na naman na mas malaki yun so dapat pag-aralang mabuti (There are increases in taxes that require study),’’ he said.
The August inflation rate was 6.4 percent, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.
While Sen. Loren Legarda, chairwoman of the Senate finance committee, estimated that the September inflation rate would be higher, Pernia said there is an embargo on the new inflation rate.
One of the mitigating measures is the availability of rice to consumers, he said.
He said the estimate by the National Food Authority (NFA) of 500,000 tons of rice is inadequate as there is an urgent need for the importation of one million metric tons for this year alone.