By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would rather leave it to the economic experts in government to decide on whether or not the second round of excise on fuel should be implemented.
In a radio interview recently, Sotto said he respects the view of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno who said that scheduled hike in the excise on fuel excise next year should still take effect since prices of Dubai crude is supposedly expected to decline.
The price of Dubai crude is a factor being considered in the suspension of the fuel excise tax imposed by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. Under the law, the imposition of succeeding round of the excise tax should be suspended if global prices breach the $80-per-barrel (P4,283) average for three months.
“Marahil, kaya sinasabi ni Secretary Diokno ‘yan, nakikita na nila at nakatimbre na na pababa na ang inflation at hindi na makakapekto at bababa na ang presyo. Kung magsisibaba ‘yan ng ganoon, at kung babalik sa ideal level, hindi na kailangan sigurong isuspend ‘yong implementation ng excise tax, ‘ yong second round (Maybe Secretary Diokno said that because they already saw and felt that inflation will decline and will not have an effect and that prices of goods will go down. If that would indeed happen, and prices will decline to the ideal level, then maybe we would not need to suspend the implementation of the second round of excise taxes),” Sotto said.
“Kumbaga sa sakit, ‘yong doktor ang nakakaalam kung anong mabuti (Just like in a disease, the doctor knows what would be good for the patient),” he added.
Sotto said he was open to support his colleagues in the Senate in appealing for the suspension of fuel excise tax, but only if the global oil prices will not decrease.
He said he would depend on the figures that would be presented by the government’s economic managers, who, he stressed, are the “experts” on such matters.
“Pwedeng isuspend, pwedeng hindi. Kailangang timplahing mabuti ‘yan. Ano ang makakabuti sa gobyerno, makakabuti sa tao (It may or may not be suspended. It should be studied carefully. What would be good for the government, what would be good for the people),” Sotto said.
“I will leave it to the figures and the experts to see before I side with whatever position they will take,” he added./Manila Bulletin