Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso pressed the government on Thursday to lower by 50 percent the excise taxes on electricity and fuel products to ease the economic pains being experienced by Filipinos largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a townhall meeting in Barangay Banaba in Tarlac City, Domagoso said the measure, if adopted by the national government, would translate to tangible benefits for ordinary folks like farmers, fishermen and public utility drivers and operators.
A candidate for president under Aksyon Demokratiko, Domagoso said his proposal would also redound to the good of the middle class, especially those in the centers of commerce like Manila, because they are primarily at the receiving end of the nearly weekly fuel price increases.
He said that for farmers and fishermen who use fuel for their boats and farm machineries, the soaring prices of petroleum products increase their overhead, impact negatively on their productivity, and cut their margin.
If elected president, Domagoso said slashing the said taxes by 50 percent would be high up his administration’s agenda.
He said he would also push a 50-percent tax break on electricity to lower the cost of manufacturing and doing business.
“To cushion the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, a 50-percent reduction in fuel excise tax can lower the power generation cost and another 50-percent cut on taxes on electricity would mean savings for the majority of our people, many of whom are jobless now due to the Covid 19 pandemic,” Domagoso said.
Domagoso averred that the positive effects of the tax cuts on fuel and electricity may allow operators and drivers of public utility vehicles to shelve their demand for fare adjustments that, in turn, would unburden commuters.
“If we implement a tax cut on gasoline and other petroleum products, we can expect more jeepneys plying their routes and they will earn more since there will be more commuters who are going to their places of work. When drivers earn more, they will have more buying power and this will further perk up the economy,” explained Moreno.
Domagoso added the tax cuts would also mean families would have more food on the table and more money they can spend on basic needs, including medicines.
He said that while it may be difficult to bring down the cost of power generation, end-users or consumers can be made to pay lower electricity bills. Government may see its incomes reduced, but Domagoso said it would empower consumers.
“There is such a thing as delayed gratification principle which means that while the government bites the bullet by implementing a 50 percent tax cut on electricity and fuel, the end-result is still favorable to the government,” the Manila mayor said.
Meanwhile, Domagoso said that the about P100 million in earnings from his endorsement of various products since 2019 have gone to charity.
He made the statement when asked during an interview if the companies and personalities behind the products he had endorsed are supporting his bid for president by contributing to his war kitty. He said he has lost count on the endorsements he has done, including for food supplement, drinks, clothes and even pandemic-related products like ionizers and vitamins.