MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday, May 28, said there is no suspension of the implementation of excise tax on fuel this year.
This, following announcement by the Department of Finance (DOF) that if the price of oil in the world market spiked to $80 dollars per barrel for three months, the implementation of fuel excise tax will be suspended in January 2019.
DOF argued that such suspension is included in the provisions of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
“It will be the next tranche in 2019 that we will suspend and it’s also hard for us to suspend mid-year because you have already projected in your appropriations, in your revenues and in your budget, those things that you will fund,” said Asec. Paola Alvarez of DOF.
The Finance Department claimed that TRAIN only contributes 0.4 percent in the overall inflation rate in the country.
The driving forces of inflation, according to DOF, are better tobacco compliance, crude oil price in world market, devaluation of peso versus US dollars, profiteering, and additional purchasing powers for consumers due to free tuition and lower personal income tax.
The agency added that it is doing everything it can to alleviate the effects of inflation such as enhanced conditional and unconditional cash transfers, importation of cheaper fuel from other countries such as Russia and stricter price monitoring in markets.
Also, DOF said, it will require Congress to pass another law in order to suspend the TRAIN law.
On the other hand, Malacañang believes that such suspension measure will not prosper in Congress because it will largely affect the ongoing programs of the government.
Some of these programs are the free tuition in state universities and colleges, the Expanded Health Care program and the Build! Build! Build! infrastructure program.
“I hope Congress does not do so because mayroon na talagang projected expenditure for the expected rise in takes but ang hinihingi lang natin ay pag-intindi mula sa taumbayan na masakit po talaga ito pero kung ititigil naman po natin … pare-pareho tayong malulugi,” explained Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque.
(I hope Congress does not do so because there is already a projected expenditure for the expected rise in takes. But all we ask for is the public’s understanding that this will really hurt, but if we stop it now…we will all stand to lose.) — Rosalie Coz