Senators warn against recall of fuel tax hike suspension in 2019
Some senators rejected Friday the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers to proceed with the second tranche of oil excise tax hike set on January 2019 as mandated under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means panel, argued that the effects of the recent drop in global oil prices and the seven consecutive weeks of fuel price rollbacks were still not being felt by ordinary Filipinos.
“(T)hese oil price reductions have to be felt by Filipinos. Hindi po dito dapat nagtatapos ang rollback. Dapat sundan din ito ng rollback sa presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin. Dapat lang na gumalaw rin pababa ang mga presyo ng bilihin sabay sa paggalaw ng presyo ng petrolyo,” he said in a text message.
The lawmaker also pointed out they have yet to receive information if the government has provided in full the social mitigating measures under TRAIN law, like the unconditional cash transfers, Pantawid Pasada, and discounts, “which were primarily put in place for the protection of Filipino families.”
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, meanwhile, warned against the plan of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), as he described inflation as a “dangerous phenomenon which should be slain on sight when it rears its ugly head.”
“Hence our eco managers should make up their minds on whether to fight inflation or pursue revenues. I suggest we fight inflation NOW,” Pimentel underscored.
In a Thursday briefing, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III bared the DBCC’s plan to recommend to Malacañang to push through with the P2 per liter fuel excise tax hike scheduled in January, due to easing prices of international crude.
This came weeks after Malacañang has notified the administration’s economic managers that their proposal to suspend the hike in excise tax next year had been approved.
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