Opposition senators seek suspension of fuel tax

Camille Elemia
Minority senators are hopeful that their colleagues will support the initiative this time


FUEL TAX. The Senate minority bloc filed a joint resolution seeking to suspend excise taxes on fuel under the TRAIN law. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Minority senators on Wednesday, October 10, filed a joint resolution seeking the suspension of excise tax on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. (READ: Dissecting TRAIN’s impact on our incomes)

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima filed Senate Joint Resolution No. 15, which also seeks to roll back fuel taxes to rates as of December 30, 2017, or before the implementation of the TRAIN law.

With prices of oil in the world market breaching $80 per barrel, and with the scheduled additional P2-levy on fuel in January 2019, the opposition said there is an urgent need for Congress to intervene.

“We are hopeful that the Senate will take a unified stance on suspending the excise tax on fuel for the millions of Filipinos burdened with the rising prices of goods,” the minority senators said in a statement.

With President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest pronouncement that the government will look into the possibility of suspending excise tax on fuel, the minority senators are hopeful that their colleagues will support the initiative.

“Napilitan na ang Pangulo na pag-isipan ito. Ipahayag na natin agad-agad na suportado ng Senado ang pagtigil ng excise tax sa petrolyo. Halos isang taon na naghihirap ang mga pamilya sa krisis natin sa presyo. Kailangan na natin ito pagtulungan at trabahuin,” they said.

(The President has been forced to reconsider it. Let us immediately express the Senate’s support for the suspension of petroleum tax. Filipino families have been suffering for almost a year now. Let us unite and work on this.)

Since the implementation of the law on January 1, 2018, gasoline prices have increased by as much as P10.50 per liter, diesel prices by P12, and kerosene by P14.12. Inflation has exceeded the government’s target of 2% to 4% as it rose to new 9-year-high of 6.7% in September.

Aquino said Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo would file a counterpart measure in the House of Representatives. 

On September 10, the House opposition filed House Joint Resolution No. 27 which would “immediately suspend the excise tax increases and scheduled increases on fuel and oil products.”

A joint resolution, like a bill, requires the approval of both houses and the signature of the President. It has the force and effect of a law if approved. –