Energy dept seeks power to suspend fuel excise tax as prices soar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2021 10:50 AM | Updated as of Oct 20 2021 10:58 AM

Defend Jobs Philippines holds a protest at a gas station on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on March 02, 2021. The group urged the government to raise wages instead of hiking prices of fuel citing the challenges of rising costs amidst a national public health emergency. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Defend Jobs Philippines holds a protest at a gas station on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on March 02, 2021. The group urged the government to raise wages instead of hiking prices of fuel citing the challenges of rising costs amidst a national public health emergency. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Wednesday urged lawmakers to give his department the authority to suspend excise tax on fuel as oil prices continue to rise.

President Rodrigo Duterte cannot suspend excise tax on through an executive order, Cusi said following a consumer group's appeal.

"Just like when the Bayanihan Law was passed there was a provision to suspend the implementation of excise tax kung papalo po ng 80 dollars per barrel sa (if it will hit 80 dollars in the) world market," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Baka pupuwede (Maybe) on cases like that the DOE will have the authority to move for the suspension of the excise tax so we can have certain measures."

Suspending the excise tax can lower fuel prices by P8 to P10, Cusi said.

Government is working on its subsidy program for transport drivers and has asked oil firms to give the public discount.

"In fairness to industry players we have asked them to grant discount to public transport some of them are giving P3 or P1 per liter. Nagtutulungan naman po ang private sector and government (The private sector and government are helping each other) to alleviate the situation," he said.

The energy department is also calling on oil firms to "unbundle" the price of fuel for transparency, Cusi added.

"Since 2018 I passed that department order. Kailangan po malaman for transparency because itong industry na ito nasa private sector lahat. To protect the public kailangan nakikita po natin yan," he said.

(We need to know this for transparency because this industry is dominated by the private sector. We need it in order to protect the public.)

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