Opposition leader backs proposal allowing DOE to suspend excise tax on fuel

Published October 20, 2021, 3:47 PM

by Ben Rosario

An opposition leader in the House of Representatives welcomed on Wednesday, Oct. 20 the recommendation of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to grant his department authority to suspend taxes on fuel to address rampaging increase in prices.

Gasoline pump picture

Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Cusi should also realize that such authority granted by Congress should also pave the way amendments to the ‘oppressive’ provisions of the TRAIN Law that the Duterte administration pursued in 2017.

“Yes, it can help in lowering oil prices and ease the burden of the transport sector, especially the poor public utility vehicle drivers and the riding public, in general,” Zarate said in reaction to Cusi’s proposal.

“In fact we are not just for suspension; we even strongly proposed scrapping the excise tax especially on diesel, which was imposed by the TRAIN Law,” the opposition leader stated.

Cusi has Congress to grant the Department of Energy authority to suspend excise taxes on fuel as prices continued to rise notwithstanding the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people.

The energy chief has formally informed the Senate and the Lower House of his recommendation.

Oil companies implemented on Tuesday the eighth consecutive price adjustment and appear to be not yet finished with it.

Zarate said the TRAIN law that imposed higher excise taxes contains a sunset provision that allows the suspension only during the period between 2018 to 2020, and, also only when the world crude oil price breached the $80 per barrel price for three months.

“It does not factor in the Covid pandemic or the joblessness now of Filipinos,” he pointed out.