House leaders to seek 'win-win solution' with oil players


Posted at Sep 17 2023 02:38 PM

An attendant fills a tricycle’s gas tank at a refilling station along Timog Avenue in Quezon City on August 1, 2023. ABS-CBN News/Jonathan Cellona, file
An attendant fills a tricycle’s gas tank at a refilling station along Timog Avenue in Quezon City on August 1, 2023. ABS-CBN News/Jonathan Cellona, file

MANILA — House officials will meet with representatives of the oil industry on Monday to look for compromises that would help lower pump prices, including a review of taxes on fuel products, House Speaker Martin Romualdez said Sunday.

The Philippines is bracing for another round of increases at gasoline stations on Tuesday, partly because of production curbs by Russia and because of higher demand during the colder months of the year. 

In a release sent by his office, Romualdez said rising costs because of global oil price hikes are "beyond anyone's control." 

He said, though, that House leaders want to sit down with the local oil industry "and discuss ways or suggestions on how we can alleviate the hardships of our fellow countrymen due to the constant rise in petroleum prices, and find common ground in areas that are within our control."

Lower taxes on fuel products?

He said lawmakers might offer a review of the excise tax or value-added tax on oil and petroleum products. 

"Also, one possibility to look at is suspending the collection of excise taxes or VAT on oil and petroleum products, depending on the Palace's plan after hearing our report of the result of this meeting," Romualdez said.

A similar approach — lowering or suspending tariffs on rice to attract importers and lower retail prices — has been proposed by Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

Invited to Monday's meeting are members of the House Committee on Energy, officials of the Department of Energy and representatives of industry groups Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association and the Philippine Institute of Petroleum.

Also invited are representatives of Petron Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Chevron Philippines Inc., Total Philippines Corp. and Flying V.

"We will try to find a win-win solution for our people and, of course,
those in the oil industry," Romualdez said.

Food prices

Romualdez said he also plans to talk to supermarkets and food companies "to convince them to at least postpone their plans (for increasing prices), if there are any, until after Christmas in the spirit of the Yuletide season."

In a separate statement on Saturday, Sen. Francis Tolentino also appealed to businesses to temper prices during the Christmas season.

"Ang ma-underscore ay yung social responsibility ng mga kumpanya. Huwag naman masyadong taasan ang presyo dahil papasok na ang Christmas season, para na rin sa ating mga consumer, ating mga mamimili," his office quotes him as saying in a radio interview.

(We want to underscore the companies' social responsibility. That they don't raise prices too much because the Christmas season is coming. For our consumers' sake, for our shoppers)

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