MANILA— Any suspension on excise taxes should be carefully studied to ensure that the benefits outweigh foregone revenue from tax collection which helps fund the country's COVID-19 war chest, a finance official said Friday.
The suspension of the imposition of excise taxes on petroleum products may result in a "substantial revenue loss" of up to P131.4 billion in 2022, Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez said in a statement.
"Any suspension of the imposition of excise taxes should be appropriately studied as the revenue to be foregone is substantial and may affect the government's budget for COVID-19 recovery measures," Alvarez said.
This was after Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier sought authority from lawmakers to suspend excise tax on fuel as oil prices continued to rise for the 8th straight week.
He said it reduced fuel prices by P8 to P10.
Laban Konsyumer president Vic Dimagiba said the suspension would benefit the public transport sector and motorists since it would equate to a reduction of P10 or higher of value-added tax for gasoline and P6 or higher VAT for diesel and kerosene.
DOE WEIGHS IN
Meanwhile, the Energy Department in a press conference on Friday said it has urged lawmakers to amend the oil deregulation law.
Energy Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza said the DOE is proposing the reduction of excise tax when imported oil prices rise to a certain level and for Malacañang to declare the measure urgent.
To help ease the burden, the DOE said it has asked oil companies to give discounts for jeepneys. Erguiza said 3 firms have so far agreed, while others said they would look into the proposal.
Another measure to help PUVs cope with rising oil prices is to allow higher passenger capacity to avert rate hikes, he said.
The capacity for PUVs has been reduced since the COVID-19 pandemic to make room for health protocols such as social distancing.
Several transport groups earlier filed a petition to raise the minimum jeepney fare by P3.
An uptick on the price of petroleum products looms as gasoline is still up by an equivalent P0.99 per liter, P0.39 per liter for diesel and P0.52 per liter for kerosene, based on the results of trading in the international market.
Oil prices have eased this week due to improved supply. However, the LPG contract price remains higher than last month by P3.50 per kilo.