DBM: Philippines to forego some P117 billion in revenues if fuel excise tax suspended

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2022 04:22 PM

Motorists gas up at a Petro Gazz station in Cainta, Rizal on March 10, 2022, as the firm rolled back their fuel prices amid rising fuel costs due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Motorists gas up at a Petro Gazz station in Cainta, Rizal on March 10, 2022, as the firm rolled back their fuel prices amid rising fuel costs due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The Philippines can lose some P117 billion in revenue should the collection of fuel taxes be suspended amid the soaring price of fuel, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Friday. 

Budget spokesperson Rolando Toledo said the country's economic managers are "strongly opposed" to proposals deferring fuel taxes due to its negative impact to the country's recovery. 

Deferring excise taxes would cut P6 per liter off the price of diesel and P10 off for gasoline, and P5 off for kerosene, based on the TRAIN Law.

"To be more specific, the measures that will have a... significant negative impact dito sa revenue generation with projected loss of around P117-billion in revenues or around point 5 percent of GDP, and eventually if we maintain our disbursement program, it will result to a bigger deficit," Toledo explained in a public briefing. 

What economic managers are pushing for instead is the targeted relief assistance such as the release of P3 billion fuel subsidy and discount vouchers. More than 377,000 transport drivers, including motorcycle riders and tricycle drivers, will benefit from this, Toledo said.

During the same briefing, Malacañang confirmed that a second tranche of the subsidy and discount vouchers will be released next month. 

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The Palace did not mention however how much this would be in April, but the National Economic Development Authority this week proposed a budget of around P3.1 billion. 

"Itong P117 billion ay malaking bagay po ito sa implementation ng ating programs, activities and projects na nakalagay sa [General Appropriations Act]," said Toledo. 

(This P117 billion is a huge amount for the for the programs, activities, and projects included in the GAA.) 

"Paano masusuportahan ito kung sususpendihin ang excise taxes? (How will we support this if the excise taxes are suspended?) So ang desisyon ng DBCC (Development Budget Coordination Committee) is not to rally support in the suspension of excise tax because it has difficulty or impact in the economy," he added. 

Earlier this week, DBM Officer-in-Charge Tina Rose Canda said that while the proposed suspension of excise taxes will benefit the transport sector, it will result in government being unable to fund some of its social services and programs. 

This includes, Canda said, the programs in the Department of Health, Department of Education, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.