Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday, Oct. 26 urged leaders of the House of Representatives to prioritize the passage of a bill that seeks to repeal the law imposing excise tax on oil products.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro have noted that the uncontrolled hike in fuel prices has imposed additional burden on the people who are being confronted by the economic slump triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former Rep. Neri Colmenares, Bayan Muna chairman, joined the Makabayan lawmakers in appeal to the Lower House leaders to act on House Bill 243 that mandates the repeal of excise tax law on oil products. The bill was filed as soon as the 18th Congress started in 2019.
“We call on the House Ways and Means Committee to immediately consider HB 243 that would alleviate our peoples’ burden. Congress should not let the Duterte economic managers, particularly the Department of Finance (DOF), to hoodwink the people once again and block this move,” Zarate and Colmenares said in a joint press statement.
Zarate lamented that the DOF has been blocking efforts in Congress to suspend or remove excise tax on petroleum products.
He said removal of excise tax on oil products will give Filipinos a respite from the unabated hike in fuel cost.
Zarate cited the study of independent think-tank IBON Foundation which said the removal of excise tax, based on the eigth oil price hike, will lower the price per liter of diesel by Php6.72 and of gasoline by Php6.33. It will also remove Php3 from the price per kilo of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), lowering the price of an 11-kilo tank by Php33 not including VAT. The price per liter of diesel can go down from some Php46.33 to Php39.61, gasoline from some Php55.51 to Php49.18, and LPG from some Php968.90 to Php935.90.
“Why is the Duterte administration sleeping on this basic issue and worse why is the government’s economic managers blocking the suspension of oil taxes?” asked Zarate.
Colmenares pointed out that “the supposed oil revenue losses can be offset by also suspending corporate income tax (CIT) cuts under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or CREATE as already pointed by IBON Foundation,” “IBON also noted that the government projects revenue losses of Php115.8 billion in 2021 and Php101.8 billion in 2022 from CREATE’s CIT cuts. Reducing indirect consumption taxes such as on oil and increasing direct taxes on income makes the tax system more progressive.This would offset their supposed losses and would give a much needed breather for consumers,” said the Bayan Muna chairman.
In a separate statement Castro chided the Duterte government’s alleged inaction on the “never-ending weekly price hikes on fuels.” “President Duterte clearly does not care about the Filipino people. His administration prioritizes their quest to retain and gain more power than to try and solve the serious crisis the Filipino people are forced to face everyday,”she said.