MANILA – Malacañang clarified on Wednesday that the modification of rates of import duty on crude oil and refined petroleum products is merely temporary.
“That was very clear from the imposition. It’s a temporary excise tax,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4.
Roque’s statement came after party-list group Bayan Muna on Monday asked the government to reconsider the imposition of additional fuel taxes as a big-time oil price hike is set to be implemented this week.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and chairperson Neri Colmenares warned that the 10-percent increase in fuel tax, coupled with the looming oil price hike, will have an impact on basic commodities.
Roque said the temporary increase in tariffs on petroleum products will be lifted if oil companies implement price hikes.
“Mini-monitor po iyan ng ating economic team. At noong pinataw naman po iyan, all-time low ang presyo ng ating gasoline and other all products. So, kung talagang mag-spike po iyan, ititigil din po iyan (That is being monitored by our economic team. When we raised the rates [of import duty of petroleum products], the price of gasoline and other all products is at all-time low. In case there is a spike, we will stop implementing the increased tariffs),” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on May 2 signed Executive Order 113, temporarily imposing an additional 10-percent import duty on crude oil and refined petroleum products to augment government funds to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Oil prices have plunged due to low demands since countries with Covid-19 infections imposed strict quarantine protocols to stop the contagion.
Last week, international prices of petroleum products recovered after hitting all-time lows in the previous weeks.
Oil companies Shell and Sea Oil on May 12 implemented oil price hikes worth PHP2.00 per liter for gasoline, PHP1.90 for diesel, and PHP1.25 for kerosene.
According to industry players’ estimates, oil prices will likely increase next week with the costs of gasoline increasing by PHP1.90 to PHP2.10 per liter and diesel going up by PHP1.70 to PHP1.90 per liter. (IA/PNA)