Shelve VAT on oil, now!-A A +A
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
ONCE and for all, President Benigno Aquino III should stop talking about Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and the impeachment case she is facing.
The President's statement about the Chief Ombudsman could be mistakenly taken as a "signal" to his Senate allies to impeach Gutierrez even if the charges against her could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
It would be better for the President to be silent on the issue and let the Senate do its job to determine whether Gutierrez betrayed the public trust by letting some controversial cases gather dust in her office.
After all, the President has already made his point by ordering his House allies to make sure that the impeachment case against Gutierrez will reach the Senate.
To import or not to import rice is the biggest question that should be answered by the Aquino administration.
This question was raised due to conflicting statements made by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and National Food Authority Administrator Lito Banayo on the issue.
Alcala is saying that there is no need to import rice because the harvest season is coming while Banayo has been quoted in several news items that there is a need to import 300,000 metric tons of rice.
Which is which?
Banayo and Alcala both belong to the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, which decides whether to import rice but I think they are not on the same page.
President Aquino should do something about this because all the blame will be placed on his already burdened shoulders once the country experiences problems in the supply of rice.
The P500-million fuel subsidy of the Aquino administration, I think, is just a band-aid solution and will not cure the deep wound that high oil prices inflict on drivers, motorists and the general public.
Instead of spending the said amount to ease the burden of jeepney and tricycle drivers, President Aquino should stop the collection of value-added tax (VAT) on oil products for at least six months, or until the tension in the Middle East ends.
According to studies, the shelving of VAT on oil products will result to a P6-peso reduction in oil prices.
If President Aquino wants to regain his lost popularity, then the shelving of VAT is the way to do it.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 20, 2011.