Benguet backs suspension of excise tax on oil products

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial board approved a resolution strongly supporting the immediate passage of House Resolution No. 2320 which urged President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately suspend the implementation of new rates and increases in excise tax for fuel and other petroleum products as provided under Section 43 of Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Boardmember Nestor ‘Bobot’ Fongwan, Jr., author of the said resolution, stated that immediate preventive measures must be undertaken by the government to avoid the inflationary effects of the continuing increase in fuel prices and other petroleum products that would cause the unabated increase in the prices of basic commodities and services.

He noted that Section 43 of the TRAIN law provided for the increase in excise tax on all petroleum products, including oil and fuel, with a staggered schedule of increases that started in 2018 up to 2020.

The boardmember pointed out that the new rates and increases in excise tax on fuel and petroleum products have reportedly caused inflationary effects that resulted to the frequent increases in the prices of basic commodities and services that added burden to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors and families in the different parts of the country, especially during the prevailing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that heavily impacted on the employment and economic activities of people.

Earlier, some members of the House of Representatives filed House Resolution No. 2320 that urged President Duterte to suspend the collection by the government of the excise tax for fuel and petroleum products as mandated by the TRAIN law following the 10 weeks of the implementation of increases in the prices of oil as observed in the different regions of the country.

Fongwan underscored that the government must be proactive in the implementation of measures that will mitigate the serious negative effects of the continuous oil price increase on the prices of basic commodities because it will be the people that will suffer the brunt of the same that will aggravate their present condition that had already been impacted by the ongoing health crisis.

According to him, Filipinos have suffered too much from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and that additional problems such as the uncontrolled increase in the prices of basic commodities caused by the weekly increase in oil prices will not be good and will further aggravate the difficult situation that they had been over the past 20 months.

Instead of allowing the people to be able to celebrate the Yuletide season because of the continuous decline in COVID-19 cases, he revealed that this year’s merrymaking might be jeopardized because of the expected increase in the prices of basic commodities which had been affected by the recent continuous increase in oil prices that compelled the transport sector to demand for increase in the minimum fare being charged to their passengers for them to also cope up with the difficult situation they are confronting.

The aforesaid resolution is expected to be transmitted to the House of Representatives through House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco after the same shall have been signed by the members of the provincial board. By HENT

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