Senator Grace Poe has refiled a bill seeking to amend the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) and providing rules for automatic suspension of excise tax on gasoline and diesel.
The lawmaker introduced the bill again in the 19th Congress as the measure which she filed in November 2021 was not tackled and passed by the Senate last Congress.
Under her proposed measure, the collection of excise taxes on gasoline and diesel will be automatically suspended when the average Dubai crude oil prices based on the Mean of Platts Singapore exceeds $80 per barrel over a period of three months.
According to Poe, the suspension of excise tax will immediately bring down the cost of gasoline by P10 per liter and P6 per liter for diesel.
"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," she said.
The senator cited figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority, showing that inflation has risen in all 17 regions in the country and some areas outside Metro Manila are having higher inflation rates due to elevated transport costs.
In June, Poe said transport accounted for 31.7% in the rise in inflation with inflation for diesel at 92.5% and gasoline at 53.9%
Due to the high fuel cost, the senator also mentioned that around 20% of the 900,000 jeepney drivers have already stopped plying the roads.
“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.
The lawmaker further argued that if the government was able to suspend the corporate income taxes of big companies under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, then the same consideration should be given to the public utility vehicle drivers.
"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?" she said.
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III also filed a similar bill. His version seeks to suspend excise taxes and Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel products if the Dubai Crude Oil based on the Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) reaches $80 per barrel.
Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos has proposed a measure that would allow the president to suspend the imposition of VAT on petroleum products.
Imee introduced the bill despite earlier pronouncements by her brother, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., expressing reservations about halting the collection of taxes on oil products.
The President on Tuesday said that his Cabinet discussed funding for the continuation of the fuel subsidy program for the public transportation sector amid rising oil prices.—AOL, GMA News