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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

To cope with COVID-19 requirements, President Duterte increases tariffs on imported petroleum

Taxes on petroleum products increased by 10%

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte, using his special powers to use government resources to immediately respond to COVID-19 requirements, “temporarily modified the rates” of import duty on crude petroleum oil and refined petroleum products under Section 1611 of Republic Act 10863 known as the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.”

In his executive order, President Duterte imposed an additional 10-percent tax due to the “urgent need to augment the country’s pandemic response budget” and prepare for both recovery and rehabilitation.

It was learned the additional tariffs are in addition to the Most Favored Nation import duties. The temporary increase in tariffs will be implemented until the effectivity of the Bayanihan to Heal as One is in effect or upon the revision of the modified rates of import tariffs to at least zero percent.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in a text message to this writer said the increase in tariffs will also lead to an increase of at least 10% in pump prices.

Meanwhile, IBON’s executive director Sonny Africa said increasing tariffs on imported oil products reduces the beneficial effect of falling global oil prices.

“By ultimately making prices higher of consumers that they could be, they are an additional burden to millions of Filipino households who are already suffering the worst mass unemployment and household income losses in the country’s history,” Mr. Africa said in a statement sent to this writer.

He described the move as a “grossly insensitive revenue measure” and the government should have opted to tax the country’s richest individuals.

He said the country’s 50 richest have P4.1 trillion in wealth “which is more than what the poorest 71 million own combined.

“A wealth tax of 1% on wealth about P1 billion, another 2%above P2 billion and another 3% about P3 billion will raise P236.7 billion from these 50 richest alone,” he added.

Mr. Africa explained the country’s richest can afford and it “will not have any effect at all on their already extremely high standards of living.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and IBON's Executive Director Sonny Africa (right). (Melo Acuna File Photos)

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