Press Release
May 4, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas criticized the executive branch for ignoring the public's clamor for a review of the continued imposition of the 12% value-added tax (VAT) on oil despite soaring oil prices.

"I reject that the government is incapable of protecting our people from the tyranny of high oil prices," the senator said.

Roxas, chair of the Senate trade and commerce committee, noted that the President and her economic team have been adamantly against any move to reduce or suspend the collections of a 12% VAT on oil products.

"I believe that a national debate on the continued imposition of this double-digit VAT on oil must now begin. I urge the appropriate committees in the Lower House to immediately work on pending measures that propose this. A temporary VAT suspension on oil products would bring immediate relief to the people including the transport sector during these extremely difficult times," Roxas added.

The senator noted that most products including basic food items are also affected by the spiraling increases in petroleum with today's P1/liter increase as adding more weight to the heavy cross that all consumers must now bear.

"The purchasing power of every Filipino - like the pandesal - is shrinking by the day. There is one lever that the government has in its full control that could give immediate relief to all of us. The important thing is to have that conversation, that dialogue on the VAT on oil, now rather than later when the people's patience could break down," Roxas stressed.

The senator said his committee will schedule a price hearing to determine the impact of the latest round of oil price increases.

"What is evident is that the government has yet to present a comprehensive plan to the people - on rice, oil, and energy - and the safety nets available to the poor to help them cope with the tsunami of escalating prices. What we keep hearing about is totally irrelevant to the needs of the people - like all this noise about an impending Cabinet revamp," he said.

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