Moreno, Marcos present similar proposals to curb effects of rising oil prices

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — Presidential aspirants Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and former Senator Bongbong Marcos presented similar proposals to curb the effects of rising oil prices.

During a dialogue with farmers in Tarlac on Thursday, Moreno said he aims to practice “delayed gratification” if he is elected president. His plan: slash taxes on oil and power by as much as 50%.

The standard bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko also promised tax cuts on electricity.

“We cannot bring down the cost of power generation but the end-users or the consumers, can be made to pay lower electricity bills. How? Bawasan natin ang buwis sa kuryente ng 50 porsyento (Reduce electricity taxes by as much as 50%),” he said.

Moreno hopes that by doubling down on tax cuts, people would have more money to spend and the economy would recover.

“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 pandemic,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Marcos called for a suspension of excise tax on oil products to cushion its impact on the transport sector.

“We need to do something about this issue urgently because one sector that will be gravely affected has been suffering for the longest time in this pandemic. Transport workers and operators who depend on their daily operations for their livelihood are already in dire straits,” Marcos said in a statement after meeting with several transport groups.

The presidential bet of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas also called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to restore the Oil Price Stabilization Fund (OPSF)

“I implore the DOE to make a careful study on the possibility of bringing back the OPSF to cushion Filipinos from the impact of rising oil prices," he said.

The fund was established in 1984 during the term of Marcos’ father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, to reduce price changes brought by exchange rate adjustments or movements in the global oil market. It was scrapped during the term of former President Fidel Ramos and just before the Oil Deregulation Law was signed in 1998.

‘Idea theft’: Did Marcos copy Moreno’s proposal?

Aksyon Demokratiko called Marcos’ proposal an “idea theft”, saying the late dictator’s son copied the idea of the Manila Mayor, who proposed it first.

“This is similar to a rich kid from Forbes Park stealing the ‘term paper’ of a poor but smart kid from the slums of Tondo. It seems that thievery and fakery is in the blood of the Marcoses. Fake war medals of Senior. Fake diploma from Oxford of Junior,” said Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel.

Moreno has made no secret for his own copying of Marcos-associated projects during his term as mayor, such as feeding programs for school children, socialized housing, and the Kadiwa program in Manila.

Partido Lakas ng Masa standard bearer Leody de Guzman called out both Marcos and Moreno, saying he has been calling for the suspension of excise taxes since 2020.

“Hindi unahan sa pagtanggal ng excise tax, o kung galing Forbes Park o Tondo. Ilaban niyo ang masa hindi lang kapag kampanyahan na,” De Guzman tweeted.

[Translation: It’s not about who proposed to remove the excise tax first or if the person is from Forbes Park or Tondo. Fight for the masses not only when you’re campaigning.”]

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday that he raised the possibility of suspending excise taxes on petroleum, but he also recognized that that the decision is up to Congress and that amendments to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN Law) are needed.

Cusi also called for the authority of the DOE to suspend the implementation of these taxes under “certain abnormal conditions.”

Under Section 43 of the TRAIN Law, petroleum excise tax suspension is only allowed from 2018 to 2020 should crude oil prices reach $80 per barrel. The decision to cut taxes is left to Congress as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.