Defensor urges Sotto, Velasco to endorse special session to pass fuel tax suspension

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By Billy Begas

Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor on Thursday urged leaders of Congress to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the calling of a special session aimed at approving measures that will suspend excise tax on fuel products.

Defensor said Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Senate President Vicente Sotto III should endorse to the President the proposal of House Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero and House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

“President Duterte may be waiting for what our leaders in Congress have to say on the proposed special session to reduce oil taxes and fuel prices. After all, it was the legislature that imposed and even increased these levies,” Defensor said.

Defensor also stressed that Congress should not wait for street protests and threats of crippling transport and labor strikes before acting on calls to suspend or scrap fuel taxes.

The tension between Russia and Ukraine has caused the prices of crude oil to soar to almost $100 per barrel from $60 last year.

“We don’t have control over the worsening situation in Russia-Ukraine, but we certainly have control over the taxes we have imposed on our people,” Defensor pointed out.

“What do we do if the price of oil hits $120-$130 per barrel and domestic fuel prices breach P100 per liter?” he asked.

Defensor said shelving fuel levies would bring down pump prices by P6 per liter for diesel, P10 for gasoline, P5 for kerosene, and P33 per 11-kilogram cylinder for liquefied petroleum gas.