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Senate Strong-Arms The Economic Managers’ Suspension Of Fuel Tax Hike

FUEL TAX – On Sunday (December 2), Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian confirmed that the Senate may urge the economic managers’ fuel tax hike suspension.

Sen. Sonny Angara and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III previously told the Development Budget Coordinating Council to deal with inflation first before they proceed to push the second fuel tax hike.

Angara said that the suspension of the increase must be followed up by price rollbacks of basic goods. Pimentel, on the other hand, suggested the DBCC to fight against inflation.

Meanwhile, the Senate urges the DBCC to proceed with the suspension of the fuel hike using the pending 2019 national budget as leverage.

FUEL TAX

Photo uplifted from: Panay News

A report in Inquirer states that Sen. Gatchalian implied the chances of the Senate taking extreme measures to oblige the executive branch to suspend the said increase in oil products despite issues regarding inflation.

Gatchalian said that it’s better to discuss this calmly so they can understand each other but if this will result in adverse effects on the citizens, there may be strong-arming on the part of the Senate.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III commented on Gatchalian’s statement, noting that it is possible. Sotto, however, said that it depend on the sentiment of the members of the Senate, noting that it’s a collegial body.

As per the report, the fuel tax increase is yet to be discussed in a Cabinet meeting which is scheduled this Tuesday (December 4). This was confirmed by Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo who also advised the public to wait for President Duterte’s decision.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said that the economic manager’s decided to backtrack on its earlier recommendation to suspend the second tranche of oil excise increase. Dominguez added that the team now wanted to proceed with the adjustments in view of recent declines in global oil prices.

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