Palace defends economic team on proposal to continue with 2nd tranche of fuel excise tax in 2019
Malacanang defended on Monday the recommendation of the economic team to pursue with the implementation of the additional excise tax on petroleum products by January next year.
"Well I’m sure the economic managers have basis to make that recommendation," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing, referring to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
Senator Sherwin Gatchlian has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to continue with the suspension of the second tranche of the excise tax on oil.
This was despite the change of heart of Duterte's economic team amid the declining prices of petroleum products in the world market.
Panelo expressed belief that the economic team could fully explain why it wants to implement the additional P2 per liter in fuel excise tax next year as provided in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
"They (economic managers) are competent and able to explain themselves to the lawmakers," he said.
He added that there is a requirement in the law when to suspend the implementation of the additional excise tax on oil.
Under the TRAIN Law, the government would impose an additional P2-excise tax on oil beginning January next year. The same law also provides that it could suspend it if the average of Dubai crude oil price based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) for three months prior to the scheduled increase of the month reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel.
Gatchalian noted that while the prices of oil have been declining, the transport fare and food prices have remained high.
He warned that if the economic team's explanation would not be satisfactory, "we can force them through the budget."
Panelo, however, said that Gatchalian is just one of the 24 senators.
"You are only referring to one particular senator and there are 24 senators. His opinion or observation may not be shared by the 23 others," he said.
When world prices of petroleum products reached $80 per barrel by the third quarter of this year, the economic team also came out with the proposal to Duterte to suspend the implementation of the second tranche of the excise tax on oil, which the President approved. Celerina Monte/DMS