Cusi proposes suspension of excise tax on fuel products

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) is looking at suspending the excise tax on fuel products amid a steady rise in pump prices.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said Congress will have to pass legislation to suspend excise taxes on fuel products, since it could not be done through an executive order.

“We [raised]the possibility of suspending the excise tax,” he said in an interview aired on the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.

If implemented, Mr. Cusi said removing excise taxes might reduce pump prices by P8 to P10 per liter.

“What we would like is if it can already be part of the law — the authority to suspend — (when there are) certain abnormal conditions,” he said.

“When the Bayanihan Law was implemented, there was a provision stating that if the price of oil reaches $80 per barrel, the excise tax is suspended, but the period has already lapsed.”

Reuters reported that oil prices continued to climb close to multi-year highs amid an energy supply crunch around the world. On Tuesday, Brent crude rose by 75 cents to settle at $85.08 a barrel.

Mr. Cusi earlier urged Congress to amend the oil deregulation law, after noting that the country is facing a “prolonged oil price spike” driven by high global demand and tight supply.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) raised excise tax on fuel in three tranches.

Excise tax on gasoline currently stands at P10 per liter, P6 per liter for diesel, and P5 per liter for kerosene. — Angelica Y. Yang with Reuters