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RODRIGUEZ: SUSPEND EXCISE TAX ON FUEL NOW

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said there is more compelling reason to suspend the excise taxes on oil products due to the worsening Russia-Ukraine crisis, as he echoed his fellow lawmakers’ appeal for leaders of Congress to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the holding of a special session.

“I support the proposal of my colleagues for a special session. We have to act now before the cost of crude and domestic fuel prices rise further,” Rodriguez said.

The veteran legislator also appealed to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who is opposing the proposed suspension, “to look at the bright side of the proposal”.

The seasoned lawmaker said if fuel prices continue rising in the months ahead, many Filipinos who are already suffering from economic difficulties because of the pandemic may resort to additional belt-tightening measures.

“If the government cuts oil taxes and fuel prices, it would in effect be telling the public, ‘No, don’t do further belt-tightening, keep the level of economic activity you’ve been doing.’ That will have a positive, instead of a negative, impact on the economy,” he said.

“The government could impose savings, especially on non-essential expenses to offset potential revenue loss of more than P130 billion because of the tax suspension.”

The government, Rodriguez said, could impose savings, especially on non-essential expenses to offset potential revenue loss of more than P130 billion because of the tax suspension.

He suggested that Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management could reduce allocations for such expenses as travel, donations, representation or entertainment, repairs and maintenance, donations, supplies and materials, and utilities.

“Lockdowns and work-from-home for most government employees should have resulted in substantial savings for the government.”

Rodriguez noted that lockdowns and work-from-home for most government employees should have resulted in substantial savings for the government.

He filed House Bill No. 10246, which seeks the suspension of oil taxes for four years, from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2025, to give people a respite from high fuel prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and allow the economy to fully recover.

Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate recently proposed the convening of Congress so it could pass bills seeking the suspension of oil taxes.

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