Suspension of excise taxes pushed, rejected

September 10, 2018
Romero Quimbo

MARIKINA Rep. Romero Quimbo is insisting on the suspension of excise taxes on fuel products but two administration solons said it cannot be done under the approved Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 1.

Citing a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank, Quimbo yesterday lamented how millions are now poorer due to the unabated rise in prices.

Pending in the House of Representatives is Quimbo’s House Bill No. 8171 which provides for a moratorium on excise taxes on fuel under TRAIN and the reversion to zero of the excise taxes on kerosene and diesel.

“While we debate endlessly on the technicalities of inflation, we cannot gloss over the fact that the poor agonize over every peso increase in the price of basic necessities,” Quimbo said.

“The ADB found that every 10% increase in food prices results in 2.3 million new poor Filipinos. With essentials such as rice, galunggong, and vegetables increasing in price by more than 20% in the last 7 months, it is fair to say that more 4 million Filipinos have become poor because of uncontrolled inflation,” Quimbo added.

The study, conducted by the ADB during the height of the 2008 Financial Crisis, measured the impact of price changes on poverty by looking specifically at the Philippines.

But Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu and Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe were unfazed by these reports saying “Filipinos have to bite the bullet for the meantime and enjoy its good effect in the future.”

Both Abu and Batocabe said the suspension of excise tax would mean impairment of social services and Build Build Build programs of the Duterte administration.

“Pinag-aralan yan ng mga economic managers ng pamahalaan at titignan nila ‘yung talagang epekto nito, at executive prerogative ‘yan,” Abu said.

Batocabe, meanwhile, said doing what Quimbo wanted would be a kneejerk reaction from a politician who wants to look good before the public.

“Ang kneejerk reaction ng pulitiko para maging gwapo ka eh alisin natin ‘yung excise tax, madali po ‘yan . Ang maapektuhan po nito ang ating imprastrukturam,ang ating Build Build Build program… Maraming maaapektuhan, maraming mawawalan ng trabaho (This would affect the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Many will also lose their jobs),” he added.

Abu said the House leadership has no plans to repeal the TRAIN law.