A bill has been filed at the Senate seeking seeking the suspension of excise taxes on gasoline and diesel as households struggle with rising fuel costs.
The author of the measure, Sen. Grace Poe hopes that the suspension will cut prices by P10 per liter for gasoline and P6 per liter for diesel. It will kick in once the average price of Dubai crude hits $80 per barrel for three consecutive months.
“The rising cost of fuel is certain to have a spillover effect on the cost of other products, especially food which accounts for a big chunk of a household’s expenses. Such will aggravate poverty and hunger among our people," Poe said in filing the measure.
"If government cannot substantially provide for its people, then at the very least, it must do all it can to ease their burden,” she added.
The Philippine Statistics Authority last week reported that fuel inflation in October accelerated to 32.9% from the previous month's 21.3%.
Poe's bill proposes to amend Section 148 of the National Internal Revenue Code by allowing excise taxes on regular gasoline, unleaded premium gasoline, and diesel to be suspended.
While the law provided for the suspension of scheduled increases in fuel excise taxes once the three-month average Dubai crude oil prices hit $80 per barrel or more, it was only for the years 2018 to 2020.
The Department of Finance earlier estimated that the government could lose P131 billion from the suspension of gasoline and diesel excise tax, but Poe said foregone revenues from the lowering of income taxes for companies under the CREATE Law was higher at P251 billion for the first two years.
"If the government can afford P251 billion for big companies, why can’t it do the same for jeepney drivers, delivery riders and everybody else who have to go to work and are forced to bring their own vehicles because there's not enough public transportation?" Poe said.
President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers earlier said that around 178,000 public utility drivers would get cash aid worth a total P1 billion to help them cope with rising fuel prices.