“They are asking for the moon and the stars, but what they will get is Antartica. Maybe, P3 per liter or kilogram, instead of P6,” deputy speaker and Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo said yesterday in a television interview.
House eyes P3 diesel tax
CITY SENSE - Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2017 - 12:05am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives is eyeing a compromise on the Duterte administration’s proposal to impose a P6 tax on diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and aviation fuel.

“They are asking for the moon and the stars, but what they will get is Antartica. Maybe, P3 per liter or kilogram, instead of P6,” deputy speaker and Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo said yesterday in a television interview.

He said lawmakers would do their part in increasing government revenues but called on the Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs to do their part as well.

He said revenue agencies lose a combined P600 billion a year to corruption, tax evasion and smuggling.

Tax cases pending with the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) involve trillions of potential tax money, he said.

He added that he could not understand why the government is losing many of the cases in the CTA when the BIR is supposed to have strong evidence against suspected tax evaders.

Quimbo pointed out that the DOF is seeking new or higher taxes “because it is the easier thing to do,” rather than plugging corruption loopholes and collecting from tax cheats.

Earlier, the former chairman of the House of Representatives ways and means committee criticized the administration’s so-called tax reform package.

“What they would give with their right hand in terms of lower income tax, they would take away with their left hand. In fact, people would pay more in terms of new and higher taxes,” he said.

“They want to withdraw the tax exemptions of senior citizens and persons with disability. They will tax diesel, which public and most transport vehicles use. They will tax cooking gas, kerosene. They want to collect higher tax on gasoline and cars. These taxes will hit not only the middle class but low-income earners as well,” he said.

Other House members have advanced their own proposals on how to increase revenues without taxing diesel, cooking gas and kerosene.

Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe is suggesting increased levies on beauty products and services like skin whitening cream, liposuction and nose lift.

He said his suggestion would not hurt the poor “because they can do without these products and services, unlike basic food items whose prices will go up if there is a P6 diesel tax.”

Rep. Jericho Nograles of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta is proposing higher fines for violators of laws and regulations, and telecommunications companies and other public utilities with bad service.

“Let us make traffic violators, reckless bus drivers, irresponsible bus companies and internet and mobile phone service providers with slow speed and weak signal pay more fines,” he said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate is recommending that the government collect more taxes from the “50 richest Filipino families that have a combined net worth of $79.5 billion or P4 trillion, bigger than this year’s national budget of P3.35 trillion, and the 690 ultra-high net worth Filipinos who have at least P1.4 billion each.”

It should also collect more from other rich Filipinos, including government officials and corporate executives, and the top 1,000 corporations, he said.

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