Press Release
August 26, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas said today the government must heed calls to remove the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products as prices continue to go up despite the lowering of oil prices in the wortld market.

Roxas noted that the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) will already be holding a large rally this Thursday to press their demand for the total removal of VAT.

"The people have spoken -- they would rather hold on to their money than have this collected and spent by the government. The VAT on oil only adds to the pain of consumers, because of the abrupt increase in oil prices worldwide," he said.

"I support moves by the KMU and PISTON to make their voices heard and show that it's the jeepney driver or regular laborer who is suffering because of the administration's shunning of our proposal to remove VAT on oil," he added.

Roxas had just met with members of PISTON a week ago, and spoke to them of the continued need for a removal of the tax. "Hindi tama ang sinasabi ng gobyerno na nakasalalay ang lahat ng programa ng gobyerno sa 'Katas ng VAT' na ito. Maliit na porsyento lang ito, at maaaring makuha ang koleksyon na ito sa ibang pamamaraan na hindi maaapekto ang mga mahihirap," he said.

He said Congress must already discuss the proposal, despite Malacañang's refusal to listen. "Let's begin discussions on this already. I have heard alternative proposals from our congressmen to set a cap on oil VAT, or to remove the VAT on both oil and electricity. The important thing is to start discussing the matter, and not just rejecting the proposal outright," he said.

Roxas had filed Senate Bill No. 1962 last December, before world oil had breached the $100/barrel barrier. Although oil prices have eased in the past month, the present $116/barrel level is still much higher than the $80/barrel level a year ago, and the $30/barrel level when the VAT on oil was first proposed in 2004.

"I urge the administration to allow their allies in the House to take up hearings on the matter, so that the House can pass its own version of the bill. We in the Senate have already discussed my bill in committee, and are just waiting for the House's version, as required by the Constitution," he said.

"Sobra-sobra na ang sakit sa bulsa ng ating mga mamamayan. Sa panahon ngayon, ang gobyerno ang dapat mag-sakripisyo at sikaping makamit ang mga collection targets, na hindi magbibigay ng dagdag na pahirap sa mga tao," he added.

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