Arroyo seeks special session to suspend fuel excise tax

With the cost of fuel rising at an unprecedented level for the past weeks, aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, House Energy Committee chair, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo yesterday joined calls for a special session aimed at passing a measure suspending the collection of excise tax on fuel.

The solon made the appeal following a hearing last Monday conducted by Fuel Crisis Ad Hoc Committee composed of the committees on Economic affair headed by AAMBIS-OWWA Rep. Sharon Garin, Transportation chaired by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Ways and Means headed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Energy, which he chairs.

Yesterday, fuel prices rose by no less than P5 per liter.

According to Arroyo, the loss for the suspension of fuel excise tax could actually be compensated by the windfall profit the government earned through the extra collections it made on value added tax (VAT) and excise tax brought about by the spate of fuel price increases in recent weeks, similar to that of what happened during in the latter years of his mother, former President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo’s term.

“Before my mother’s term ended, there was also a spate of fuel price increases. To mitigate its impact, then President Arroyo utilized the windfall profit the government collected in excess of its projected revenue through the VAT and excise tax imposed on fuel,” Arroyo said.

Salceda agreed with the Pampanga solon, proposing a Katas ng TRAIN (KNT) package, similar to the Arroyo administration’s Katas ng VAT (KNV) program. The Albay lawmaker said an estimated P75.2-billion in revenue from VAT and oil excise, from which he is proposing P68.8 billion to be used to subsidize electricity, fertilizer, small fisherfolk and social pension for this year.

Arroyo said the lawmakers, even if most of them are back in their respective districts, are on standby should President Rodrigo Duterte call for a special session to address the fuel crisis.