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GOV’T AGENCIES URGED TO SAVE TO EASE INFLATION

Requiring government agencies to set aside 5 percent in budgetary savings could free up to P250 billion out of the P5.04-trillion national budget for 2022 to ease the country’s record-high inflation, a lawmaker said.

Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano explained this is one step to addressing high inflation risks caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adding that such a move could help withstand the resulting revenue shortfall caused by the proposal to suspend excise taxes on fuel.

“Number one talaga dyan is that we have to suspend ‘yung excise tax on fuel.”

“Number one talaga dyan is that we have to suspend ‘yung excise tax on fuel. Di ba kaya ayaw natin tanggalin ‘yung excise tax, kasi kailangan natin ‘yung pondo (The number one [approach] really is that we have to suspend excise taxes on fuel. We needed funds that’s why we don’t want to remove excise taxes). But if you have 5-percent savings, then the government will spend 5 percent less anyway,” Cayetano said.

The veteran legislator said the government’s focus should be on mitigating rising fuel prices to contain potential runaway inflation, which hit a six-month high of 4 percent in March.

The seasoned lawmaker noted that the rising price of fuel causes a domino effect on all other commodities.

 “’Yung isang domino kapag bumagsak, sunod-sunod na. So hindi pwedeng sa gitna mo ihihinto kasi marami nang tumumba.”

“’Yung isang domino kapag bumagsak, sunod-sunod na. So hindi pwedeng sa gitna mo ihihinto kasi marami nang tumumba (If one domino falls, then it will cause a chain reaction. So, you shouldn’t stop the effect right in the middle because several dominoes already fell),” he said. “’Yung unang domino talaga e ‘yung presyo ng gasolina. So we have to, for me, i-arrest mo muna ‘yan para hindi tumaas lahat (The first domino is the price of fuel. So we have to, for me, arrest that first so that not everything else increases in price).”

Cayetano filed House Bill 10832 or the Mandatory Savings Bill, which proposes a 5 percent mandatory savings to generate a projected amount of P250 billion “to fund assistance to our countrymen who are in dire need to recover from the adverse effects of the present pandemic.”

The bill proposes streamlining and scaling down government activities that are “no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased-out or abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations.”

The government allotted P2.5 billion for fuel subsidy which is set to benefit 377,000 public utility vehicles (PUVs), operators, and drivers, amid the increasing prices of fuel.

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