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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

07 March 2022 07:00:01 PM

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House of Representatives is looking at all possible options to cushion the impacts of rising oil prices on Filipinos, including suspension or reduction of fuel excise taxes.

“We can’t just sit idly by while our kababayan are suffering from the impacts of unabated oil price hikes. We must do something; we must find solutions to this crisis,” Velasco said.

The Speaker issued the statement as the ad hoc committee that he created conducted a hearing Monday to discuss measures on how to reduce the soaring prices of fuel in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

The Fuel Crisis Ad Hoc Committee, composed of chairpersons of four key House panels, tackled the impacts of the fuel crisis on inflation, trade and commodity prices, agriculture, supply and demand, and transport sector.

Velasco thanked Committee Chairs Sharon Garin (Economic Affairs), Joey Sarte Salceda (Ways and Means), Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo (Energy), and Edgar Mary Sarmiento (Transportation) for taking on the task of helping the government find solutions to the current oil crisis.

“We expect the ad hoc committee to fully assess the economic impact of the drastic increase in oil prices and come up with recommendations on how the government can address the problem at the soonest possible time,” Velasco said.

At any rate, the House chief lauded the government’s move to provide fuel subsidies to sectors directly affected by rising oil prices.

“I believe that what the government is doing, giving subsidies to targeted beneficiaries who are severely affected by unabated oil price hikes, is the best solution for now,” Velasco said.

The government had announced it is preparing to release P2.5 billion for subsidy program providing fuel vouchers to qualified members of the public transport sector, on top of the P500 million in fuel discounts for farmers and fisherfolk.

Meanwhile, Velasco said the House is on standby in the event President Rodrigo Roa Duterte calls for a special session of Congress to pass legislation suspending or reducing fuel excise taxes.

He pointed out that the 1987 Constitution bestows the power upon the President to call a special session at any time.

“We are more than willing to hold a special session in case President Duterte calls for it,” he added. #