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Ang taas na! LP stalwarts try to halt excise tax on fuel

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By Xave Gregorio

Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts are appealing for cross-party support for a measure which would halt additional excise taxes on petroleum products next year.

Vice President Leni Robredo and LP congressmen threw their support for Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV’s “Bawas Presyo Bill” or Senate Bill No. 1798, which seeks to suspend oil excise taxes imposed by the first package of the administration’s tax reform program once inflation surpasses the government’s target for three months.

Inflation has passed the government’s two to four percent target for five consecutive months and may surpass it again for the sixth month, as economists predict inflation in August to hit as high as six percent.

“I-suspend na ang probisyon ng TRAIN law ukol sa excise tax sa krudo at i-review ang anumang additional cash transfer,” Robredo said Monday (September 3) in a speech in Quezon City.

Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo said he is set to file a counterpart of Aquino’s bill in the House.

“Hindi tayo tumutuligsa, humahanap tayo ng konkretong solusyon na tingin namin ay dapat pagkaisahan namin, majority, minority, opposisyon o supporter ng administration. This is all intended to make prices of basic commodities more affordable,” Quimbo said.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law cut personal income taxes, but hiked excise taxes on certain products and services, including petroleum products.

A P2.50 tax on every liter of diesel and bunker fuel was imposed by the TRAIN Law in 2018. Next year, it will be hiked by P2 to P4.50, and a further P2.50 to P6 in 2020.

“Kung may panahon po na pwedeng aksyunan na ‘yung Bawas Presyo Bill at kung may mga changes na kailangan gawin, kailangan na siyang gawin agad-agad,” Aquino said.