Press Release
May 19, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas described the proposed zero value-added tax (VAT) on oil as a "win-win" solution to the woes of the transport sector and of consumers alike due to the sky-high prices of petroleum products.

"Kung gusto ng gobyerno ng 'win-win' na solusyon, suportahan na nito ang pagtanggal ng VAT sa langis. Agad na makikinabang dito ang parehong tsuper at pasahero, kaya hindi ko alam kung bakit ipinagdaramot pa rin ito (If the government wants a 'win-win' solution, then it must immediately support the removal of VAT on oil. Both jeepney driver and commuter stand to immediately benefit from this)," he said.

"The disposable incomes of our people continue to shrink due to the high cost of food, oil, energy and their other daily needs. If we don't heed this cry for immediate relief, our economy is in danger of slowing down," he stressed.

Roxas said this, as he criticized the government for its incoherent policy in issuing a provisional fare hike order, only to hold it back a few hours afterwards.

"Hindi magandang urong-sulong ang pamahalaan sa panahon ng krisis. Umasa ang ating mga tsuper, kinabahan naman ang ating mga pasahero. Sa huli, hindi nakatulong ang gobyerno (The government should not be indecisive in times of crisis. They made our jeepney drivers expectant and our commuters anxious. In the end, the government was not able to help either)," he added.

"What is a fair solution? It is for government to assume the responsibility of fixing its finances without having to unjustly burden our transport sector and our consumers as a result of this VAT on oil," he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce noted that the government is already on the right track with its decision to study whether to suspend, reduce or eliminate altogether the 12% VAT on oil and energy.

"That's a big leap from its original stance for an automatic rejection of any proposal to touch the VAT law. Ultimately, they have to heed the clamor of the people for the suspension of the VAT on oil as a way to keep the political and economic environment stable," he said.

"I call on the House to bring the matter to the table and start hearing all positions, especially that of our consumers," he added.

He noted that while the Senate has already started deliberations on bills seeking to suspend or remove VAT on oil and energy, it could not move forward until the House approves its own tax measures.

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