Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Monday sent his appeal to the incoming Marcos administration to identify and remove taxes and other fees in fuel transactions that can minimize the effects of surging prices of petroleum products.
Pimentel said removing the excise tax and other fees on fuel is an Executive action but he will file a bill to formalize his request.
“Wala tayong indigenous source sa item na ‘yan. So, huwag na natin pang dagdagan ang presyo niya (We have no indigenous source for that item. So, let’s not add anymore to its price),” he said in an interview.
When asked about the revenues that the government will lose, Pimentel said the government should be open to belt-tightening measures.
“Alisin na yung mga tinatawag na vanity projects, ‘yung mga seminar na maraming ginagastos, ‘yung mga masasabi natin hindi na essential. I-review lahat sa budget (Remove what we call vanity projects, expensive seminars, the things that are unessential. Review everything in the budget),” he added.
Last week, reelected Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he supports additional fuel subsidies for the transport sector instead of removing the excise tax on oil products.
Gatchalian explained increasing the subsidies is more efficient and economical but should be distributed in a timely manner.
“One tranche will cost you about PHP4 billion to PHP5 billion as to removing the excise tax that will cost us roughly around PHP200 billion. So, it’s more economical to give fuel subsidies provided they are given immediately,” Gatchalian said.
However, if the oil crisis is prolonged, he is open to discussing the plan to suspend excise tax or if necessary, the value-added tax for fuel.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said he is looking forward to working with Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Francis Escudero, and Risa Hontiveros in the minority bloc of the 19th Congress.
As of Monday, only Hontiveros and himself are certain to be members of the minority.
“Wala pang nag-re-reach out. Kami pa lang ni Senator Risa kaya baka kami ang mag-re-reach out (No one is reaching out yet. It is just me and Senator Risa so maybe, we will be the ones who will reach out to them),” he said.
A former Senate President, Pimentel said he wants to be a part of the minority this time because “somebody has to check on the majority”.
Pimentel clarified that his choice to be with the minority has nothing to do with President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“It’s just that it’s time to have a minority active, pro-active in checking the majority,” he said. (PNA)