Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is pushing to suspend fuel excise tax, in the midst of skyrocketing fuel prices sparked by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Further, he is calling for stronger implementation of the Biofuels Act, as an option for alternative fuels.
“With these prices, we should consider the temporary suspension of the fuel excise tax to give our people some welcome respite from the weekly increase of fuel,” said Zubiri. “Especially PUV operators and drivers, who are still trying to recover from the pandemic.”
“Just when the economy is beginning to open back up and they finally have a chance to recoup, here comes an oil price surge to kill their momentum.
“But suspending excise tax is a short-term solution. We need to think long-term, to avoid coming to another situation like this in the future. So long as we are dependent on foreign oil, our prices will be dependent on the very volatile international arena as well. That is why we must strengthen our local alternative fuel sources, like biodiesel and bioethanol, which can be produced in the country,” he said. Zubiri authored the Biofuels Act of 2006.
“I authored the Biofuels Act because I wanted to create an alternative fuel program. Unfortunately, the government never fully supported it, and there have been minimum investments in the country. We were hoping to follow Brazil, India, Thailand, and Malaysia, na may sariling biofuels production kaya mas mura na at homegrown pa. Sayang at hindi ito na-promote nang mabuti at makatulong pa sana ito sa lahat ng sugar at coconut farmers sa bansa.
“We can also promote electric vehicles so that we don’t need to use gasoline or diesel anymore for our daily transport. Plug-in lang sa bahay o sa public charging stations at pwede na magamit ang sasakyan. Since we just ratified the Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, which I also authored, we urge the government to fully implement this measure as soon as it’s law, so we can prioritize the sale and use of electric vehicles.
“We have the laws in place, we just need full government implementation to really start our shift toward alternative fuels. As we’re seeing now, we cannot afford to be dependent on imported fuels. We have to cultivate our own fuel industries, and ensure that we have sustainable fuel sources that our people can depend on at all times.”