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Revenue from oil taxes should fund Mindoro oil spill cleanup —Recto

Government revenues from taxes imposed on petroleum products should be used to aid residents affected by the Mindoro oil spill and finance subsequent cleanup, House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto said Wednesday.

Recto said a mere one day’s worth of oil tax collections is already worth P1 billion, an amount that would be enough to jumpstart “abatement and alleviation” measures in areas hit by the ecological disaster.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor earlier said the oil spill from sunken MT Princess Empress carrying 800,000 liters already affected the livelihood and daily lives of more than 99,000 individuals or 19,900 families. 

“Ang katas ng buwis ng langis dapat gamitin panglinis ng tagas sa lumubog na barko,” Recto said.

(The taxes collected from oil products should be used to clean up the oil spill.)

"This is gently reminding government of its huge revenues from oil and fuel products to goad it to spending more for the containment of the oil spill. The point here is, whatever you are spending is just a mere drop in the barrel of oil tax collections,” Recto added.

Recto then argued that if the treasury were an oil tank, then it is only correct to siphon off from its contents to address a situation for which one particular tax was meant to alleviate.

“Nature, when it is under threat, as in the case of the oil spill, is entitled to tax dividends,” he said.

An excise tax, Recto said, is slapped on oil products because they are viewed as a harmful product, causing pollution and sickness, and contributing to global warming in the first place.

“The argument was that it is paid to compensate for damages to health and the environment. That was how previous administrations framed their justification for higher oil taxes,” Recto said.

He then cited figures from the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, the think tank of the House of Representatives, which showed that the Bureau of Customs collected P372 billion in duties and taxes on crude oil (P138.9 billion) and petroleum products (P233.5 billion) in 2021.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue, for its part, added P7.4 billion in excise tax from petroleum products during the same year. —VAL, GMA Integrated News