by DAWN SOLANO
Seven vice presidential candidates claimed that the approved P200 monthly subsidy is insufficient at a time of rising fuel and goods prices, suggesting the suspension of excise tax.
In a segment of the Commission on Elections’ first vice presidential debate, aspirants Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Walden Bello, Rizalito David, Manny Lopez, Dr. Willie Ong, and lawyer Carlos Serapio expressed their dissatisfaction with the government relief.
On March 16, presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the Department of Finance’s proposal of a P200 monthly subsidy per household for poor families.
“It is not enough. That would only be 1.6 pesos per person in a family. In other words, 200 pesos is not enough. What should be done is to suspend the excise tax on fuel,” Pangilinan said.
Complying with the same idea, Sotto saw the need to suspend the excise tax as well. He suggested that the country shift to using renewable energy to solve the fuel price-hike problem.
“When it comes to fuel, we must make our issue on fossil energy into renewable energy. For example, solar. We are in the middle of the equator, the sun is strong in the Philippines, we must be at the top of this,” he added.
David further says that the government is wrong for believing that the aid is better than nothing. Aside from removing the excise tax, he proposed that the value-added tax (VAT) must also be reduced.
Meanwhile, Bello said that he is pleased to learn that his co-candidates are supporting the same law proposal regarding the issue. “Hindi ho sapat yung 200 pesos. Talaga hong, parang binibiro lang tayo ni President Duterte with that, kasi–dahil talagang ubos yan sa isang araw lang. Sumasang-ayon ako sa sinabi ng aking mga kasama, dapat pong ma-suspend na ang excise tax on oil, as well as VAT on oil (The 200 pesos is not enough. It really seems that president Duterte is not taking us seriously with that, because that will run out in just one day. I agree with the people I am with, excise tax and VAT on oil must be suspended),” Bello said. F