MANILA, Oct 11 (Mabuhay) –The Department of Energy (DOE) is no longer insisting on its appeal to have power to suspend excise tax on fuel, according to Director Rino Abad of its Oil Industry Management Bureau on Tuesday.

OIL PRICE HIKE. An attendant fills the fuel tank of a jeepney at a gas station on Congressional Road in Barangay San Manuel II, Dasmarinas City, Cavite on Tuesday (Oct. 11, 2022). Oil companies said they will increase gasoline prices by PHP1.20 per liter and diesel prices by PHP6.85 per liter starting Tuesday. (MNS photo)

Abad was asked if the DOE is still seeking such power amid renewed calls for the suspension of fuel excise tax following Tuesday’s big-time oil price hike.

“Ultimately, ang naging decision ng Department of Finance (DOF), at ito ay pinronounce ng spokesperson dati ng Malacañang, na lahat ng usapin na finance matter like tax ay dapat ang magdedesisyon at magsasalita lang ay ‘yung ating DOF,” he said.

“So hindi na po kami nag-insist dahil ‘yun na po ang naging policy direction,” Abad added.

In October 2021, the DOE asked Congress for authority to suspend excise tax on fuel in light of the continued rise in oil prices during that time.

Then-Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said they were discussing with the DOF “the possibility to suspend excise tax for the meantime.” Cusi had said this needed new legislation.

In July this year, Senator Grace Poe and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III filed bills seeking suspension of taxes on fuel.

Abad said the DOE has limited options to ease the price of fuel. According to him, the available options to control fuel prices are through its cost components like import cost (60%), taxes (20%), oil company take (17%) and biofuel (3 to 4%).

Asked why gas stations immediately implement new price increases when they still have stock supply, Abad said there is no scheme, formula, or timing indicated in the law for the implementation of oil price hike.

He added that the content of fuel price increases is always “daily” regardless of the timing of the implementation.

“So ang naging practice, because sabi naman dun it should reflect the movement in the international market, eh ‘yung daily trading price na nangyayari sa Mean of Platts Singapore as the benchmark ay nire-reflect po ‘yan. Yung weekly ay timing lang po ‘yan pero ang laman po niya ay daily. Puwede mong gawin by two weeks or one month pero ang laman niyan always daily,” he said. (MNS)