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LP solons seek suspension of fuel excise taxes under TRAIN

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Liberal Party (LP) lawmakers have urged the House leadership expedite the suspension of the next round of fuel excise taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to tame the “monstrous” soaring inflation.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman warned that the country’s inflation may hit another 10-year high in the fourth quarter of 2019 at around 6.8 percent. Suspending the TRAIN Law imperative under Joint Resolution No. 27 may slow down or decrease the country’s inflation.

“It is patently a flawed policy” for an oil-importing country like the Philippines, to impose additional and higher excise taxes on petroleum products, while oil producing countries are even giving subsidies to maintain at low levels the pump prices of gasoline to protect consumers,” said Lagman.

Lagman said the adverse situation is compounded by the increasing price of oil in the international market which has breached the $80 per barrel mark, the highest since November 2014.

Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo said he wass “dumbfounded” by the continuing refusal of government economic managers to consider a more immediate response.

Aside from the said resolution, Quimbo is pushing for the immediate passage of House Bill No. 8171 that seeks “to return to zero the excise taxes on kerosene and diesel” imposed under the TRAIN Law.

Quimbo stressed that the proposed legislation provides for the automatic suspension of the implementation of fuel excise tax increases under TRAIN when inflation exceeds the government’s quarterly target.

“As opposed to other proposed responses to inflation which would take months to be felt by the poorest Filipinos, if at all, a repeal of the anti-poor imposition of excise taxes on kerosene and diesel as well as a temporary moratorium on the imposition of all other fuel excise taxes under TRAIN provides the fastest and simplest relief to Filipinos,” said Quimbo.