Presidential bets urge action on rising fuel prices

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Presidential bets urge action on rising fuel prices
Colorful jeepneys wait for passengers at the intersection of EDSA and Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City on March 11, 2022. Qualified Public Utility Vehicle operators are set to receive fuel cash cards from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board next week as part of the P2.5 billion fuel subsidy program of the Department of Transportation to mitigate the effect of the continuing hike in petroleum products to PUVs.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines — Contenders to be President Rodrigo Duterte's successor to Malacañang are urging his administration to act on the rapidly rising fuel prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sen. Ping Lacson and Vice President Leni Robredo called for the government to suspend the imposition of excise taxes on fuel, which would immediately slash P5-P10 off petroleum products.

Lacson has said that it is a good idea to suspend excise taxes on gasoline prices since this will greatly help motorists and other members of the transportation sector.

In an interview on Bombo Radyo Bacolod, Robredo backed the suspension of excise taxes on fuel products, but noted the need to balance this with the need for the government to generate revenue while stressing that it must act sooner than later.

“This should be decided on immediately as our countrymen would suffer more as this drags on,” she said in Filipino.

The son and namesake of the late dictator, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., suggested that the government should suspend excise tax on fuel imports as a form of subsidy for oil companies.

Special session

Another suggestion, backed by Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino standard bearer Leody de Guzman, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Robredo, is for Duterte to call for a special session of Congress for it to tackle measures that would address rising fuel prices.

“It is only right for candidates to pause campaigning and for lawmakers to sit down in a special session to give attention to the expected price hikes on petroleum and other goods,” De Guzman said in a statement in Filipino.

He said the special session should be used to pass measures including increasing wages of workers nationwide and controlling the prices of oil and other basic goods.

Pacquiao has said he "does not mind" if the Senate will call for a session to pass a counterpart to the House measure calling for a moratorium on the collection of petroleum excise taxes.

Lacson, meanwhile, said they cannot refuse if Duterte calls for a special session, but added that parameters must be clear if Congress would be asked to declare a state of economic emergency.

But for De Guzman, Malacañang should not be given free reign to source and spend funding.

“Only the banks and politicians allied with the president will benefit from this,” he said.

Since the start of the year, the price of gasoline has risen by P13.25 per liter, P17.50 per liter for diesel and P11.40 per liter for kerosene, according to the Department of Energy.

But with the war in Ukraine instigated by Russia driving global oil prices up, the worst might just be coming. — with reports from Xave Gregorio, Angelica Y. Yang, James Relativo and Kristine Joy Patag








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