MANILA – Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to implement the previously suspended second tranche of the fuel excise tax as the Dubai crude oil price is projected to drop further below $60 per barrel in 2019.
The 8 straight weeks of oil price rollbacks prompted regulators to temporarily lower the basic jeepney fare to P9 from P10, Diokno told reporters during his weekly conference “Breakfast with Ben.”
“When we proposed... talagang there’s a prospect na maghit ng $80 dollars per barrel. Wala na ‘yun. Ang projection ngayon is pababa na ang presyo ng krudo and we got information na nagsubside na yung inflationary pressure,” Diokno said.
Authorities, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), vowed to closely monitor traders of agricultural products who might take advantage of the excise tax on fuel, he said.
“Our economy, while it is one of the fastest growing eh napakahina ng agriculture. It really is the weakest link so we really need to focus on agriculture. Alam naman namin ang problema and we are doing it,” Diokno said.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law scheduled excise tax increases every year for 3 years starting Jan. 1, 2018.