BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Corporate and tax lawyer Jesus Aranas favors the suspension of the excise tax on petroleum products for a specific period of time that he said could become part of a national recovery plan as Filipinos reel from the effects of the COVID pandemic.
“Everyone is affected by the increase in petroleum prices and suspending the excise tax will directly benefit the people,” Aranas told DNX in a phone interview.
Meanwhile, former Negros Occidental Governor Rafael Coscolluela said he also favors the tax suspension as world market prices of oil continue to climb amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the loosening of COVID restrictions, according to some experts.
“Indi na maagwanta ang presyo (We cannot bear the prices anymore) ,” the Negros for Leni lead convenor said in a SMS interview with DNX.
Aranas said the suspension of the excise tax on petroleum products can be considered as part of a national economic recovery program that would directly impact the lives of people.
“We are still staggering from the effects of the COVID pandemic and taking away the excise tax temporarily” can help in lifting a heavy burden from off the shoulders of people, the United Nationalist Alliance secretary general said.
President Duterte had earlier approved the recommendation of the finance department to not suspend the excise tax as this would lead to a loss of the P147 billion estimated earnings from the levy on petroleum products.
The amount, DOF officials said, had already been included in the 2022 national budget.
Instead, Duterte approved the DoF proposal to allocate at least P33.1 billion for members of the government’s subsidy program known as 4Ps or the poorest 50 percent of the population that will receive an additional P200 per household per month.
Aranas said while it is not certain if the projected earnings would really benefit the people, the excise tax suspension would certainly give them additional purchasing power.
“The people should be allowed to survive… aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo (what good is hay if the horse is dead),” he said, quoting a Filipino proverb that refers to help arriving too late.