MANILA -- Former First Son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who now represents tricycle drivers and security guards in Congress, joined calls to suspend the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products.

“I call on President Aquino to suspend immediately the VAT on oil at least for the time the nation is besieged with an almost daily round of oil price hike and until such time the world price of crude products normalize,” Arroyo said in a text message to reporters Wednesday.

The executive order signed by Aquino last week granting a P450-million fuel subsidy was criticized as useless after another oil price hike was recently implemented.

Covered by the fuel subsidy are jeepney and tricycle drivers, farmers and fishermen.

On Tuesday, oil companies again increased the pump prices of petroleum products for the 12th time this year.

Diesel and gasoline will be more expensive by P1.50 per liter while kerosene will go up by P1.40, according to multi-sectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

“While the President's move to subsidize the fuel consumption of the transportation and agricultural sectors is laudable, the latest round of oil price hike Tuesday proved it is not enough,” Arroyo, son of Aquino’s predecessor, said.

“One, the fuel subsidy will only benefit certain sectors and two, even as it is yet to be implemented, the oil price hike Tuesday was so enormous it negated the effects of the government's fuel subsidy. Nabalewala ang benepisyo ng fuel subsidy sa sobrang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” he added.

Arroyo earlier criticized the Aquino administration for failing to address the oil price hikes, and the rising prices of electricity and basic commodities after the Bureau of Internal Revenue slapped him with P73.85-miilion tax evasion charges. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)