Text and photo by Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Reiteraring the urgency for President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately call for a special session for Congress to address the soaring fuel prices triggered by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, PROMDI presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao is pushing for direct subsidies to the hard-hit transport sector now facing exorbitant pump prices set by most oil companies.
In a statement, the People’s Champ opined that Congress should immediately legislate a law that would suspend the collection of excise tax on petroleum products to bring down the cost of fuel or use the excise tax collections to provide direct subsidies for the public transport sector.
“Iminumungkahi ko agad na magpatawag ng special session sa kongreso para pag-usapan ang solusyon na maaring irekomenda kaugnay ng patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo. Alam natin na ito ay direktang makaka-apekto at magpapahirap sa mga commuter at transport sector,” Pacquiao pointed out in a video message sent to the media.
Another option, he added, is to suspend the excise tax and at the same time expand the use of the ₱7 billion service contracting budget allotted under the General Appropriations Act of 2022.
The incumbent senator scored the skyrocketing cost of fuel saying it would cause ripple effects on the country’s economy so government must now step in to cushion its impact on ordinary Filipinos.
A liter of gasoline now sells at P75 in some gas stations while diesel now cost P70/L.
He further noted that the government cannot simply suspend collection of the excise tax as this would still require legislation whereas providing direct subsidy can be immediately implemented using funds collected from excise taxes.
Pacquiao said that with the series of fuel price shocks, the people need immediate support to avoid a full-blown recession.
“Kailangang maglaan ng pamahalaan ng subsidy para pasanin ang pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo. Kung mabibigyan natin ng ayuda ang mga nasa transport sector ay mapipigilan nito ang pagtaas ng halaga ng pasahe ng mga commuter at pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin,” he stressed.