By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) wants to fully implement the government’s fuel marking system by March this year.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko said the marker of winning bidder Sicpa SA and SGS Philippines, Inc., which bagged the five-year contract for the government’s long-delayed fuel marking system, is now undergoing final testing by the Department of Energy (DOE).
“For the fuel marking, the team that’s doing it is actually going already to the refineries. So that’s ongoing now. Hopefully by next month, February first week, we will launch it already,” Tionko told reporters.
Currently, the government does not encounter any problem with the chemical following the initial tests conducted by the DOE along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the finance official noted.
“Right now, they are testing the marker itself — the acceptability of the marker. So that’s with discussion with the DOE, and the DENR. So once it’s accepted, we will do our first marking,” Tionko said.
The DOF also awaits all the clearances from the DOE, she said.
“At the same time, there is a team that is thinking of how to install it in different refineries because the structures are different so they have to adjust on how would they install the marker,” Tionko said.
She also assured that the markers will not affect the fuel quality and its compatibility the any types of automobile.
“It’s not an additive, it doesn’t have an effect on the fuel,” the official said. “The target to finish that [testing] including the inspections. By February 7 and 8, we launch it.”
The first marker will be injected into oil station pumps located in Metro Manila.
In October, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) procurement service awarded the fuel marking project to Switzerland-based Sicpa SA and SGS Philippines.
The DOF had planned to implement the anti-oil smuggling scheme in the third-quarter last year, but due to some technical issues, it was delayed to January this year.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had said that the scheme was necessary to properly monitor the compliance of oil companies and importers with the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) regulations.
But Dominguez clarified that the fuel marking system does not aim to scrutinize the local oil industry.
The finance chief had said that illicit fuel trade is costing the government around P25 billion to P40 billion in foregone revenues annually.
He further explained the system was designed to curb smuggling and misdeclaration of petroleum products that cost the government billions of pesos in foregone revenues each year.
Under package one of comprehensive tax reform package (CTRP), the fuel marking plan would be implemented last year by the Bureau of Customs, with the assistance of the BIR.
Fuel-marking scheme was first introduced during the Arroyo administration but was disc