Leaders of the House of Representatives met anew with oil industry players on Tuesday to appeal for more fuel price discounts, as pump prices hit around P70 per liter.
House Deputy Majority Leader and ACT CIS Party List Rep. Erwin Tulfo said lawmakers called for additional P1.00 to P2.00 per liter discount on top of existing discounts implemented by big oil firms, and to expand its coverage to also include private vehicles. He, however, said the oil firms have yet to issue a commitment.
"Ang pakiusap nalang namin ngayon, ng Kongreso, dagdagan ninyo ‘yung discounts na ipinamimigay ninyong Big 3. Baka pwede nyo doblehin o dagdagan ng piso o dalawang piso sa discounts… tapos baka pwedeng isama n’yo na ‘yung private sector,” Tulfo said in an interview with the media.
“Ten years ago na ‘yung discount na ‘yun, ‘yung piso, dalawang piso… Parang not enough. Hindi mo na maramdaman. Kaya ang hinihingi namin, baka pwede nyong doblehin,” he added.
The proposal to suspend the imposition of excise and value added tax on fuel will be difficult, according to Tulfo.
“Definitely, ‘yung excise at saka yung VAT, mahirap tanggalin. Kasi ang computation around P12 billion to P15 billion hanggang December ‘pag tinaggal mo pansamantala ‘yung excise tax. Budget deficit na naman tayo. Kaya pumapalag ang Department of Finance. Parang mahirap lunukin din,” he explained.
Tulfo said the House Speaker had warned that if oil industry players refuse to help the government address the rising fuel prices, Congress may undertake certain measures that may be “unpalatable” to them. Among the possible courses of action being eyed is the review of the Oil Deregulation Law.
"Ginagawa lahat ng house leadership. Ang problema, may mga batas tayo… na kinda parang hindi na effective ngayon. Maganda ito noong 90s, 70s, itong Oil Deregulation Law… Sabi ko dapat ibasura na, because hindi na siya effective. At parang nalinlang ang taumbayan noong aprubahan ito. Because hindi nagpababaan eh. Ang purpose ng oil deregulation is competition. E nagco-compete sila pataasan eh…. So where is the competition? Kung mayroon mang competition, competition to make a big profit,” Tulfo said.