By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Sen. Grace Poe has refiled her bill seeking to provide for the automatic suspension of excise tax on gasoline and diesel when the average Dubai crude oil price based on the Mean of Platts Singapore exceeds $80 per barrel over a three-month period.
Poe’s proposed measure (filed, awaiting no.) seeks to amend section 148 of the National Internal Revenue Code for the purpose.
The suspension of the excise tax will immediately snip off P10 from the price of gasoline per liter and P6 from the price of diesel.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that inflation has risen in all 17 regions, with some areas outside the National Capital Region having higher due to elevated transport costs.
Transport accounted for 31.7 percent in the rise in inflation in June, with inflation for diesel already at 92.5 percent and for gasoline at 53.9 percent.
“Taking off P6 from the price of diesel per liter during critical times can help our drivers ply their routes again. At the same time, it will lower the cost of transporting goods,” Poe said.
According to estimates, 20 percent of the 900,000 jeepney drivers have left the trade due to losses from high pump prices.
“The wheels of the economy can go faster if public transport is able to move people to work or buy goods and essentials that they can afford,” Poe said.
Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier backed Poe’s proposal, saying the government for so long has afforded over 100 lines of value-added tax (VAT) exemptions.
The government could have earned at least P117 billion in additional tax revenues in 2018 alone, even with a reduced VAT rate from 12 to 10 percent, by removing 78 lines of exemption from some sectors such as power, cooperatives, housing and economic zones, Lacson said.
Meantime, the economic managers of the new administration said the government stands to lose over P100 billion in revenues from the said excise tax suspension.
Poe stressed, “If the government can afford to lose P251 billion to benefit big companies under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act in the first two years, why can’t it do the same for our public utility drivers, delivery riders and ordinary workers who bear the brunt of higher transport costs?”(ai/mtvn)