GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Higher taxes on fuel will push up fish prices, businessmen in one of the country's fishing capitals said on Friday.
A P6 excise tax on petroleum products, spread over 3 years, is part of the government's tax reform package which may take effect as early as next year.
This could result in a 25-percent mark-up in fish prices, said Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries Inc executive director Rosanna Contreras.
“We are afraid it can really hurt the consumer. Kasi wala kaming magagawa kundi i-pasa yong buwis na ‘yan (We will have no choice but to pass on the tax),” Contreras said.
General Santos Mayor Ronnel Rivera said he would discuss concerns over the fuel tax with national officials.
“We will continue to discuss this issue especially that it will not only affect the operators but also the ordinary people of the city,” he said.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Eduardo Gongona downplayed the effects of the tax reforms on the fishing sector.
“May maaapektuhan but in the long run, may magandang epekto ‘yan (Some people will be affected, but in the long run, it will have a good effect),” Gongona said.
The government is seeking higher taxes on fuel, sugar-sweetened drinks and cars among others to offset a reduction in personal income tax rates.