Ranking solon says BBM’s preference for ‘transport ayuda’ makes sense

Published June 24, 2022, 2:02 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

House Deputy Speaker and Davao City 3rd district Rep. Isidro Ungab has backed President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s preference to give subsidies to the beleaguered transport sector instead of doing away with excise taxes on fuel amid skyrocketing petroleum prices.

(File photo/ Ali Vicoy/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“I support 100 percent PBBM’s position to provide direct assistance or ‘ayuda’ to those really affected by the rising oil prices than suspend the excise tax on fuel products,” Ungab said.

“PBBM is right in saying that reducing fuel excise tax does not necessarily help those who are directly affected by the energy crisis,” said the solon, who is a former House Committee on Appropriations chairman.

In line with this, the House leader is batting for funding for his proposed transportation cash subsidy or “Transpo Ayuda” to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and to others badly hit by the oil price surge such as in the farming and fisheries sectors.

“The government may study the possibility of setting aside some projects and reallocate a portion of the budget, to be used as cash subsidies, or for Transpo Ayuda, for our kababayans to obtain some assistance during this crisis.

“We acknowledge that everyone is feeling the brunt of these oil price hikes, but the ones suffering the most are those in the transport, farming, and fisheries sectors,” Ungab said.

While several groups are calling for the suspension of the collection of excise tax and value-added tax (VAT), Ungab cautioned against the implementation of the same, for the government might end up losing huge revenues that could otherwise be utilized to help the marginalized sector in times of crisis.

“The option to suspend taxes should be on a case-to-case basis. There is a need to study the proposal, or else the government might run out of funds, which might cause a huge problem,” Ungab said.

“I agree with President Elect BBM’s directive of finding the most viable solution to this financial distress our kababayans are experiencing now, and at the same time, the government must ensure that this will not be to the detriment of our country’s economic stability,” the Mindanao solon further said.