MANILA -- Majority senators have asked President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the second tranche of fuel excise taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
In a letter dated October 9, 2018, the senators said oil prices in Dubai have reached $84.41 last October 4, triggering a TRAIN law mechanism that suspends the next scheduled excise tax increase.
They are referring to the part of the tax reform law that provides for the suspension of future increases in excise taxes on fuel if the price of Dubai crude reaches $80 per barrel.
"The law further mandates the Department of Finance to perform an annual review and recommend whether to implement or suspend the next scheduled increase based on projections and recommendations of the Development Budget Coordination Committee," they added.
The lawmakers noted that in at least 41 weeks since the TRAIN law took effect, oil prices have increased 29 times, leading to a total increase of P12.15 per liter in diesel prices and P11.40 for gas.
They also pointed out that according to the oil monitoring report issued by the Department of Energy, crude oil prices could increase to over $100 per barrel in the coming year.
Among the lawmakers who signed the letter were Senators Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Ralph Recto, Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gringo Honasan, Manny Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, Chiz Escudero, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Koko Pimentel, and Joel Villanueva.
"Considering the high crude oil prices are projected to continue increasing, we respectfully request your Excellency and DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to support our initiatives to suspend any further increases in excise taxes on diesel, gasoline and other petroleum products before the TRAIN Law's trigger period," they said.
-- report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News