MANILA — The House committee on ways and means on Thursday approved a bill proposing to reduce or suspend the excise taxes on petroleum products amid consecutive oil price hikes this year.
The bill will suspend for 6 months the imposition of excise taxes on diesel, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas.
Excise taxes on low-octane gasoline, used primarily by tricycle drivers, will also be reduced, while taxes on premium gasoline will be retained.
The proposed measure also creates a special fund to be devoted for "ayuda" for affected sectors whenever oil prices go up.
Dubbed as the Social Impact Stabilization Fund, the mechanism will be funded by a charge of P2 per liter of diesel and gasoline when global prices reach lower than $45 per barrel of crude.
According to panel chair Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who also authored the bill, there is a self-correcting mechanism in the measure.
"We embedded a mechanism for reverting it back to TRAIN rates if the prices normalize. If it goes back to 65 dollars per barrel of crude oil, then the excise tax rates will also normalize," Salceda said.
Salceda said the House hopes to turn the bill over to the Senate by the third or fourth week of November.
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate welcomed the approval of the bill, saying that it is a partial victory for consumers.
"The suspension of the excise tax on oil products would be a welcome reprieve for struggling public transportation drivers and operators, farmers, fisher folks and consumers from the still continuing oil price hikes," he said.
"We strongly urge Malacañang to certify the bill as urgent to expedite its passage by both houses of Congress for the benefit of our people, the poor especially," he added.