Needed: Decisive action

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AMID soaring fuel prices, Malacañang has expressed openness to the suspension of hefty excise taxes on oil products such as gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, kerosene and bunker fuel.

The suspension will only take place, however, when the price of crude oil in the world market reaches $80 per barrel. That’s a key provision of the first phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Act that began to be implemented in January this year to raise funds for vital infrastructure and social development programs.

In any event, we fully support the suspension of the excise tax on fuels as the price of crude oil is close to reaching a multi-year high of $80. Brent crude is already at $79.35 per barrel, while Dubai crude is at $74.45, as of the latest figures.

Our dependence on imported crude oil underscores the urgent need for the country to develop indigenous energy resources, as pointed out by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

While that would take time, the Department of Energy is on the right track in emphasizing energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Apart from this, the DOE is studying other immediate options, such as increasing existing fuel discounts to public utility vehicles.

It is true that Filipinos are already reeling from increases in the cost of oil products and their domino effect on prices of consumer goods and services. The government should move decisively to avert any adverse impact of these price increases on the daily lives especially of the most vulnerable sectors.

p: wjg

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