Tuesday, July 23, 2024

A Little Cut Won’t Hurt

by Maria Franciss Nikole Elli | March 16, 2022

It was only a matter of time before the war between Russia and Ukraine spills its effects to Asian countries. As for us, the hike in oil prices looms the country into a possible price hike for other commodities as well. Though the war is thousands of miles apart from us, this is proof that most definitely, the tension is felt everywhere. However, you’d be surprised that there is actually a way to ease the consumers’ struggles.

Petroleum products are excisable under the law, and this week, the prices for local fuel are expected to increase by as much as P11.95 per liter for diesel, P7.2 per liter for gasoline, and P9.80 per liter of kerosene. Even with such soaring prices, we hear no word from the government whether they are willing to suspend fuel excise tax.

Excise tax for petroleum products have been levied since the enactment of Republic Act No. 10963, otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. This is part of the undertakings for tax reform which lowers personal income tax while also increasing the overall consumption tax. The law aims to generate more revenues for the government to push through with its projects and also to provide an equitable tax system for everyone.

The excise tax levied on petroleum products has reached P3.00 to P10.00 per liter in 2020. These taxes would also be a way for people to reduce their consumption of harmful fuel and lean towards environmentally friendly ones. 

Oil prices in the Philippines have soared higher amid the Russo-Ukrainian War and the sanctions implemented by the international community to Russia, which has large amounts of oil deposits. With this, the price of oil per barrel in the Philippines has reached more than $100, the first time it reached such mark since the last seven years.

According to Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, there is no stopping the Department of Finance and Bureau of Internal Revenue from suspending the collection of excise taxes on petroleum products. If anybody, the ones who take the biggest dent with the current situation, it would be the ordinary Filipinos. 

Jeepney drivers are hoping for at least a P1 increase in the minimum fare as the price of fuel skyrockets. But the government’s response, most especially from the National Economic and Development Authority, is to increase the fuel subsidy program instead. However, jeepney groups don’t quite agree, saying that this program has been going on but is given to the operators instead of the drivers themselves. 

At the end of the day, a little cut or suspension won’t hurt. Our ordinary citizens need it more than ever. After experiencing the pandemic for two years now, wrought by typhoons, and now barely recovering from all these, maybe for once, it’s the bare minimum for the government to suspend excise tax on petroleum products. 

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