Colmenares hails VAT exemption on water bills, ‘pero sana oil’

Published March 3, 2022, 2:56 PM

by Seth Cabanban

Makabayan coalition senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares praised the removal of value-added tax (VAT) from water bills of the Manila Water Company and Maynilad Water Services, but at the same time stressed the need for the same relief when it comes to fuel and electricity.

Makabayan coalition senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares (FILE PHOTO)

“The removal of the [VAT] in the water bills of Manila Water and Maynilad is very much welcome, especially as all sectors try to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Malaking ginhawa po ito, lalo na sa pamilya ng mga manggagawa at mga negosyong kumokonsumo ng tubig (This is a big relief to the working-class and to businesses that use water),” said Colmenares in a press statement on Thursday, March 3.

“Pero, sana oil. Tulad ng matagal na naming iginigiit, dapat alisin din ang VAT sa langis at kuryente na dati naman ay hindi sinisingil (But, hopefully oil too. Like we’ve been asking for, VAT that previously was not collected should be removed from fuel and electricity),” he added, playing off the colloquial “Sana all (Hopefully all)” expression.

Filipino consumers are currently feeling the brunt of the Russia-Ukraine war in the form of successive prices hikes on fuel. This is because the conflict in Europe is unstelling the world oil market.

Colmenares said the Makabayan solons in the House of Representatives have been pushing for the removal of VAT from these utilities through Congress, specifically citing House Bills (HB) Nos. 245, 249, 256, and 481, all filed in the 18th Congress.

Of these, HB Nos. 245 and 249 pertain to the exemption of VAT from electricity bills, HB No. 256 for water bills, and HB No. 481 for “oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and other basic necessities”.

He also vowed to prioritize these specific bills if elected to the Senate.

“Kung nagawa ito sa Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) concession areas, kayang-kaya natin isunod ang kuryente at langis (If this can be done in MWSS concession areas, we can do it for electricity and fuel, too),” he concluded.