Duterte approves suspension of additional fuel excise tax in 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of President Rodrigo Duterte has already issued a memorandum on the suspension of the second tranche of additional excise taxes on oil for the first months of 2019.

But according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the president has green-lighted the proposal of his economic team.

In particular, the collection of the additional P2.00 excise tax for every liter of fuel will be suspended beginning January next year.

This is despite the downward trend of oil prices in the world market.

A provision of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law states that the next tranche of additional excise tax will be automatically suspended if the price of Dubai crude oil will reach $80 per barrel or more for three consecutive months.

“I just got a communication from the executive secretary that our proposal to suspend the two-peso additional excise tax on oil next year has been approved. And we have no intention to recommend again, second policy is kinda difficult, and we cannot do it at the whim in response to,” said Diokno.

The budget official noted that the move will result in revenue losses of around P26 billion.

It will also affect the government’s fuel subsidy program for jeepney operators. Instead of P20,000, recipients will only be receiving P10,000.

There is no definite period yet until when the suspension will be in effect but Secretary Diokno reiterated that the government will review it on a quarterly basis.

Diokno also insists that the government has the privilege to suspend the excise tax and will not violate the law.

“The administration has the prerogative to suspend if it wants to in the light of recent developments, we cannot violate the law, it’s the Department of Finance who is implementing the law,” said the budget secretary.

Meanwhile, Diokno denied a report that the government has failed to reach its target revenue collection under the TRAIN law.

“Number one, it’s false that it’s not yielding much more than one we have anticipated so, in other words, we have the program revenue collection as a result of TRAIN I, we have actually exceeded the collection,” said Diokno. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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