House starts debate on fuel excise tax freeze

November 15, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 86 views

THE House of Representatives will start this week the plenary debates on a consolidated bill seeking to reduce for six months the excise taxes on diesel, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and other oil products.

Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, one of the authors of the bills, said lawmakers want to finish the deliberation and pass the measure immediately.

“Congress should pass it soon to provide relief to our people, who are suffering from the double whammy of Covid-19 pandemic and high fuel prices,” he said.

Rodriguez authored Bill No. 10411 seeking the suspension of excise tax increases on petroleum products imposed under Section 43 of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, from 2022 to 2025.

The Mindanao solon said this is the period economists expect the country to recover from the COVID pandemic.

For his part, Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor filed another bill proposing to suspend oil excise tax adjustments under TRAIN for three years or from 2022 to 2024.

The Rodriguez and Defensor bills both cover the entire amount of increases, ranging from P3 per liter or kilogram in the case of LPG to P9.50. Also, they would apply to all products.

However, the Committee on Ways and Means largely favored Bill No. 10348, introduced by its chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who proposed a six-month suspension and only on certain products.

Under the consolidated version or HB 10488, the tax on regular gasoline with 91-percent octane or lower would be reduced from P10 to P4.35 per liter, while the levy on premium gasoline would be cut to P7 per liter, also from P10.

The excise on diesel, LPG and kerosene would revert to zero from P6, P3 and P5, respectively.

Rodriguez said if the proposed law is enacted, the retail price on an 11-kilogram cylinder of LPG should go down by P33.

The recommended reduced excise taxes would return to their present levels under TRAIN if the price of crude oil in Singapore falls to $65 per barrel or lower for four successive weeks.

The LPG prices would go back to P3 per kilogram if the contract price for two successive months goes down to $580 per metric ton or lower.

The six-month suspension period would begin after the proposed law takes effect.

Aside from Rodriguez, Salceda and Defensor, Quezon City Rep. Jesus Suntay and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go have authored measures that were consolidated into Bill No. 10488.