House Speaker shuts door on proposal to scrap VAT on oil

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Saturday, March 24, 2012


MANILA -- Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said proposals pending before the House of Representatives seeking the removal of value-added tax (VAT) on oil products are “not going to get anywhere.”

This was the position of the House leader despite the continuing increase in oil prices.

Progressive groups have earlier said oil prices have increased nine times in the past three months.

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“It’s going to start with oil, later on with medicines and then later on basic commodities and food. It took a long time to get this far, a lot of sacrifices. I think it’s still on the right track,” Belmonte said.

In 2005, VAT was increased to 12 percent and expanded to include oil and basic commodities. This was the government’s response to the fiscal crisis of 2004.

“We are having a problem on oil now but this is really up and down thing…VAT is something that has been found beneficial all over the world,” Belmonte asserted.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino, one of several lawmakers seeking to scrap VAT on petroleum products, said the House leadership is “Noynoying” on the measures filed in Congress.

Groups have earlier coined the term “Noynoying” to describe the inaction of the Aquino government on rising oil prices.

“My challenge is, let’s talk about it formally in the committee level. Let’s debate on the merits of the proposal and see what can be done. They (House leaders) don’t want to talk about it just because the President doesn’t want it,” Casino said in a text message.

“Meanwhile, there is a strong clamor for the VAT on oil’s reduction or removal. Who is our boss anyway, the President or the Filipino people?” Casino added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

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