Roxas: Immediate relief, not tokenisms, needed

Friday, May 23, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas said the people do not need mere "tokenisms" but real and immediate relief in coping with the continued high prices of petroleum products.

He cited the Department of Energy's announcement to remove the tariff on imported crude oil and refined products – that would supposedly lower pump prices by P0.50 – effective June 1, which the Senator said would not be felt by the public especially with the continued rise in world oil prices.
"How will our drivers and consumers feel that their government is looking out for them, when all they are given is false hope and not immediate relief?" said Roxas, the Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce.

"Our people feel they are being run over by these skyrocketing prices of food, oil and other goods. But instead of rushing them to the hospital, the government treats the problem with band-aid," he said, referring to the tariff reduction.
The Liberal Party President said that if the executive was serious in helping the jeepney and tricycle drivers, the fisherman, or even just the general consumer, the immediate action of suspending the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products must be considered.
"With the rising prices of basic goods like food, oil and electricity, plus the higher costs of transport, a zero tariff on oil is not all that our people need, but also zero VAT," he said.
Roxas stressed that the government should not fear revenue losses as a result of removing the VAT on oil, because the VAT will eventually be collected on other products.
"The government should not be so stingy when it comes to removing the VAT on oil. This is not their money, this is the people's money," he said.

"So far, the executive has not understood that when the VAT on petroleum products is removed, this won't be a complete loss for the government. Why? Because Juan de la Cruz is going to spend his extra savings on other items, which the VAT can be collected from. For example, with one 11-kilo tank of LPG, removing VAT would result in a housewife saving P65. That P65 can then be spent on other items in the grocery or department store to buy other needs, which have VAT on them," he explained.

"If the government is going to use the money for things that won't help us anyway, it would be better for each person to do the spending," he added.

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Kevin Ray N. Chua

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