With fuel prices expected to shoot up yet again, threatening to further raise the cost of living, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson called for the immediate suspension of excise taxes on fuel products even on a temporary basis until such time that the international price of oil stabilizes to a manageable level.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, said this will provide the much-needed breathing space not just to motorists but also to virtually all sectors affected by the upward trend in fuel prices.
But he also stressed that in the meantime, the government must draw up long-term solutions to the crisis, including the use of renewable energy.
“Another round of price hikes in fuel is expected this week and this time, the increases are unprecedented. The Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) reference price for refined petroleum products and other oil price indices have already reached levels never seen before as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Lacson said, adding prices of gasoline and diesel per liter could hit more than P80-90 per liter.
Lacson proposed that a mechanism be put in place, where the excise tax on fuel will be suspended when crude oil prices based on the MOPS reach or exceed $90 to $100 per barrel. The excise tax can be re-imposed when the prices go below these levels.
He pointed out the urgency of the matter as the upward trend in fuel prices will also impact the prices of food and other basic commodities.
“The upward trajectory of fuel prices is expected to continue and the government must do something now to mitigate the impact of international oil prices on motorists, the public transport sector, fisherfolk and farmers who will bear the brunt of this burden if we do not act now,” Lacson stressed.
While there may be a loss of revenue for the government when the excise tax is suspended, he said “what matters now is the plight of ordinary Filipinos.”
“Government should give the people ‘breathing space’ so that the economy can recover. This is a temporary measure but it will be welcomed as we are all just trying to get back on our feet,” Lacson said.
“Our long-term solutions should be in investing in renewable energy, facilitating the transition to electric vehicles in our transport sector, and exploring for oil, gas and other indigenous energy resources that can supply sustainable energy. This will serve multiple purposes in relation to climate, the environment and sustainable development. This will remove our dependence on imported fuel and will be a buffer against disruptions like war,” he added.