PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the deferment of a second round of fuel tax increases in 2019, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
“I just got a communication from the Executive Secretary [Salvador Medialdea] saying that our proposal to suspend the P2 additional excise tax on oil next year has been approved,” Diokno told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday.
In October, economic managers recommended that President Duterte order the deferment of a second round of fuel tax increases because of the rising inflation.
Higher taxes on fuel products were implemented under the Tax Reform of Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law that took effect at the start of 2018.
Under the law, a second round of fuel tax increases is scheduled to take effect at the start of next year and can only be suspended “when the average Dubai crude oil price based on Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) for three months prior to the scheduled increase of the month reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel.”
The tax hikes under Train have been blamed for rising inflation, which hit another 6.7 percent in October. Legislators earlier this year called for the suspension of the implementation of higher fuel tax as consumers complained of rising prices — a move initially rejected by the Finance department. MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO