MANILA - The excise tax on fuel imposed by the tax reform program pushed the cost of commodities higher than what is warranted by rising world prices, a lawmaker said Monday as he filed a resolution seeking the suspension of duties on kerosene and diesel.
The government initially estimated that the impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) would only impact the headline inflation by 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent, but the effect of excise duties on fuel has so far been "devastating," said Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo.
"The reason why we want to pound on diesel and kerosene is because these are the poor man’s fuel. More than 60 percent of kerosene is used by the 20 percent poorest families," he told ANC's Headstart."
"It’s a basic staple so the cost of running a family, the standard living has dramatically gone down because of these increases. Excise tax contributes 30 percent in the total increase of prices," he said.
Citing a study by the Asian Development Bank, Quimbo said for every 10 percent increase in food prices, some 2.3 million Filipinos fall below the poverty line.
Now that the prices have increased by 20 percent, he estimated that some 5 million Filipinos were added to the poor demographic.
"Why are we going to penalize the people simply because government is inefficient? That’s what’s happening. You are admitting that palpak kayo so, ‘sorry, palpak kami, tax-an na lang natin lahat. Never mind that the poor will suffer’…They answered it that ‘we accept that the poor will suffer because of this," he said.
"We cannot have a carte blanche imposition simply because the administration is unable to clean up its house. Bakit sisisihin ang taongbayan? Bakit sila ang magsa-suffer for the inefficiency of government? Hindi fair yun," he added.