Freeze second round of fuel taxes -- LP lawmakers

Romero Quimbo

AMID the high inflation rate and continuous increase in the prices of oil on the world market, Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo and other Liberal Party (LP) solons are urging Malacañang to put on hold the second round of increases in fuel taxes starting January 2019.

The LP legislators were referring to the provision in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law which hikes the price of diesel by P2.50 per liter on the first year, P4.50 per liter on the second year and P7 per liter on third year onwards.

Gasoline prices, on the other hand, will increase by P7 per liter during the first year, P9 per liter on the second year and P10 per liter on the third year, also based on the TRAIN 1.

The group is also proposing an increase in the supply of state-subsidized rice in the market  to arrest the unabated hikes in the prices of basic goods.

Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the nine-year high 6.7 percent inflation rate was due to price hikes in food, non-alcoholic beverages; housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; and transportation costs.

In the past eight consecutive weeks, prices of diesel, gasoline and other petroleum products increased.

“It just seems like déjà vu at this point. Every month we are faced only with higher and higher prices, every month we implore our economic managers to provide much needed relief to suffering Filipinos, and every month our pleas fall on deaf ears,” Quimbo said.

Quimbo stressed that rather than focusing on absurd claims of a ‘Red October’ plot or tagging the youth as destabilizers, the administration should instead direct its energies to reining in uncontrolled inflation.

The LP lawmakers filed last September House Bill No. 8171, which seeks to return to zero the excise taxes on kerosene and diesel imposed under TRAIN.

It likewise provides for the automatic suspension of the implementation of fuel excise tax increases under TRAIN when inflation exceeds the government’s quarterly target.

The bill is a counterpart to Senate Bill No. 1798 filed by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

“Walang pulitika ang pinggan ng ordinaryong mamamayan. There is no hidden Liberal Party or opposition agenda behind the call to suspend fuel taxes under TRAIN,” Quimbo said.