Press Release
January 11, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas chided the administration for politicizing his proposal to suspend the 12% expanded value added tax on oil and "apparently avoiding a transparent debate on the merits of the issue."

The Liberal Party President said that the proposal only seeks to ensure fairness and equity in an "extraordinary" time where the price of crude oil in the world market has breached the $100/barrel mark. He pointed out that the sense of fairness now swings in favor of the individual, as he needs the help more than the government needs its windfall from VAT on expensive oil.

"Our principle is that the first and best use of money is always by the person who earned it. Sa panahon ngayon, mas maganda na nasa bulsa ni Pedro ang pera niya kaysa nasa bulsa ng Malacañang," Roxas said.

"Nakakaaliw na nakakaiyak kasi imbis na makinig sila sa mga kongkretong panukala, mas gusto nilang dalhin ang lahat ng usapin sa pulitika. Ang kawawa dito ay ang mga mamamayan dahil sila ang tatamaan ng pagtaas ng presyo ng langis sa mga darating na araw," he added.

The senator urged the administration to seriously consider immediate suspension of the 12% EVAT and lift the heavy yoke imposed on the people by unstable oil prices.

"The situation when the call for additional taxes was first made is no longer present. Back then, we had an annual government deficit of around P250 billion, and oil was around $30 a barrel. Now, we are in fiscal balance, and at the same time, oil has reached new highs," he said.

"The problem is real and it must be addressed now. It is a great disservice to the people whenever its own government dismisses substantive issues as being politically-motivated and therefore unworthy of comment or further study," Roxas said.

The senator warned that the volatility of oil prices in the world market is a serious matter that deserves more than just token-ism on the part of the administration. He noted that administration officials have started labeling his proposal as "populist" and "politically-motivated."

"In any debate, once you start attacking the motives and attaching labels to the other party, it means you find it difficult to substantiate your position," Roxas said.

"Ang lumalabas, ang simpatya ng pamahalaan sa taumbayan ay nagkakahalagang 20-50 sentimo lang kada litro. Bakit hindi gawing P4 kada litro ng diesel o P60 kada tangke ng LPG?" he said.

He warned that a stronger peso combined with higher oil prices can deflate the economy and affect the purchasing power of millions of households, especially those dependent on dollar remittances.

The senator expressed concern over the great difficulties of OFW families in meeting amortization payments on their housing and other loans.

"Once the peso-dollar rate falls below the P40-mark, thousands of workers in the export sector and millions of OFW families would be financially crippled, thus further shrinking the middle class," Roxas pointed out.

"Our economy, which is consumption-driven, is in danger of stalling if we continue to turn a blind eye on the people's weakening power to consume. By suspending VAT on oil, we are reflating the economy and preventing an inflationary spiral," he said.

"The problems are real. Millions of households do not feel the gains of a strong economy because they are too busy stretching their finances and looking for extra sources of incomes. The government must be the first to recognize these problems as they are, and look for specific, workable solutions, rather than dismissing these realities as political noise," he stressed.

He said the government must instead work to collect taxes that are lost to corruption and other leakages. He cited estimates by the DOF itself that in 2006, P107 billion in potential income taxes were not collected because of leakages; bulk of which were corporate, business and professional income taxes.

"Ang kailangang gawin ng pamahalaan: pagandahin ang koleksyon ng mga buwis na nariyan na, at palakasin ang kampanya laban sa malalaking tax evader at smuggler. Hindi ipataw ang bigat ng pagsasara ng budget deficit sa ordinaryong mga mamamayan," he stressed.

News Latest News Feed