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DOE wants to tap oil excise tax for subsidy

The Department of Energy (DOE) eyes to tap the proceeds from the excise tax on petroleum products as fuel subsidy amid rising pump prices.

In a press conference yesterday, DOE Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said there is a provision in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law that allows the additional government revenue to be used for social welfare and benefits programs like fuel subsidies.

Under Section 82 of TRAIN Law, incremental revenues from the law can be tapped to fund “fuel vouchers to qualified franchise holders of public utility jeepneys (PUJs)” within five years from the effectivity of the act.

The TRAIN Law took effect on January 1, 2018.

“We will make the necessary suggestions on how to tap any resources. But part of the resolution that we asked the Congress is to be able to determine from DBM (Department of Budget and Management) if they still have the money from the collection and if we can use the money for this purpose,” Erguiza said in mixed English and Filipino.

Earlier, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Economic and Development Authority opposed the recommendation of suspending the excise tax on petroleum products despite the rising oil prices.

The DOF said should the excise tax on petroleum products be suspended, the government stands to lose P131.4 billion in revenues – P24.7 billion in excise revenues and P106.7 billion in incremental revenues under the TRAIN Law.

With the opposition from the economic team to halt the excise tax collection on petroleum products, Erguiza added that the DOE also suggested to Congress to at least reduce the excise tax rate when world oil price hikes reach a certain level.

“The concept is that for us to be given the authority, the red light, green light to do something. That’s the concept we told to the Congress,” he added.*PNA

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