MANILA -- Members of the Makabayan coalition trooped to the Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday asking the agency to urge President Benigno Aquino III to suspend the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products.

In a petition letter to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, eight groups including the representatives of the progressive party-list bloc in Congress said that such action would have a “more substantial impact than the executive order (EO) signed by Aquino last week.

EO 32 or the Pantawid Pasada Program grants a P450-million fuel subsidy for tricycle and public utility jeepney drivers.

"The oil subsidy for public transport, even if extended to other poor sectors, would only reduce oil pump prices by a little over one peso and could only last for two months. A suspension of VAT, on the other hand, would ease the burden of consumers by more than five pesos and could be implemented as long as oil prices are increasing above the government’s projected $80/bbl,” members of Makabayan coalition said.

Pump prices of diesel and gasoline have increased more than 10 times from January to April.

The suspension of the 12 percent VAT on oil will bring diesel prices down by as much as P5.60 and gasoline prices down by P6.50. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)