With the country’s inflation at its peak in more than nine years, no one has been spared from the ‘crunch’ of rising prices and cost of living.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which has hiked the price of gasoline by Php 7, diesel by Php 2.50, kerosene by Php 3 and auto LPG by Php 2.50, has certainly been a factor in the increase of prices of basic commodities.
To address the situation, the Department of Finance (DOF) is probing the possibility of suspending the fuel excise tax after the President seemed open to the idea.
When asked by reporters is fuel excise tax suspension is an option to curb inflation, President Duterte replied, “maybe”.
“We are looking at all advice received regarding this area. We also need to look at all of the factors, the main factors involved in such a decision. So we looked to, of course, the Cabinet, our principals and, of course, the Office of the President for final guidance on this,” said DOF Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino.
One of the options being considered is included in the stipulations of the TRAIN law and it states that the government can suspend its implementation if prices of oil in the world market reaches US$ 80 per barrel.
Otherwise, any other recourse would require “legislative action” as per Lambino.
“If we suspend based on the mechanism that is in the TRAIN Law, then that can be automatic. But if we do something else, it would require different actions. Hindi po bababa nang todo iyong presyo ng oil dahil ang import price po natin ay tumaas from around high USD40 per barrel to now above 80 dollars per barrel [The price of oil won’t have a drastic decrease because the import price continues to increase from around 40 USD per barrel to now above USD 80 per barrel],” added Lambino.