“Oil price hikes have direct and lasting effects on agricultural and fishing production cost, cost of farm inputs, and overall cost of living for Filipinos. Throughout the deregulation era, the Department of Energy (DOE) has become a mere announcer of oil price hikes. Deregulation under Duterte also caused much damage to the livelihood and economic status of Filipinos.” — Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano, Chairman Emeritus, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
Research group IBON said that government’s continued implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) means that TRAIN’s taxes will keep raising prices next year and make inflation higher than it should be.
The group said that lifting the fuel excise tax suspension shows the Duterte administration’s insincerity and insensitivity in addressing the inflationary impact of the tax reform program, particularly on poor Filipino households.
The DBCC cited the lowering of Dubai crude oil prices and consideration of possible foregone revenues as reasons for its latest recommendation.
Kerosene excise tax of Php3.00/liter in 2018 increases to Php4.00/liter in 2019 and Php5.00/liter in 2020.
The gasoline excise tax meanwhile is set to increase from Php7.00/liter in 2018 to Php9.00/liter in 2019 and Php10.00/liter in 2020.
IBON estimates that the poorest 60 million Filipinos have already endured real income losses of anywhere between Php2,500 to Php6,800 due to worsening inflation since the onset of 2018.
Oil prices remain volatile and could still increase next year with US sanctions on Iran gaining traction, possible Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts, and untoward geopolitical events.
IBON insisted that the administration can do much to moderate inflation by suspending the inflationary taxes of TRAIN package 1.