Remove oil products from the coverage of the value-added tax and people will be spared not only P1 per liter, but at least almost P4 per liter.

This was the reaction of the Freedom from Debt Coalition today to news reports that government is mulling over a possible P1 per liter subsidy on diesel.

Amid reports of looming P8/liter increase in oil prices until September, government has convened a special body to discuss contingency measures for it. Earlier, the government reduced the import tariffs on oil in an attempt to cushion the impact of increases of oil prices in the world market.

“The 2 percent reduction of import tariff on oil is negligible, so will be the proposed P1/liter subsidy,” said FDC vice president Wilson Fortaleza.

“People are already suffering. Their daily income is not even sufficient for them to have a decent meal, three times a day. Twenty percent of an average household’s budget is only used to pay for their monthly electricity bill. Prices of basic commodities and services have also gone high because of continuous increase in oil and power rates,” he added.

FDC figures show that since 1998, when the oil industry became fully deregulated, the price of diesel has already increased by three hundred forty-four percent (344%) while LPG, commonly used by household’s has increased by more than one hundred percent (100%).

“If this administration is really sincere in addressing the soaring prices of petroleum products, all it has to do is lift the VAT on oil and power now and not later.”

Militant groups Freedom from Debt Coalition and Laban ng Masa are gearing up for the day of protest tomorrow to reiterate their demand for the immediate removal of VAT on oil and also on power.

“We will take to the streets our demand for immediate economic relief, specifically the lowering of prices of oil and electricity,” Fortaleza said.

FDC and Laban ng Masa will be conducting various protest actions on July 20. The day of protest will culminate in a “lights off” at different areas in Metro Manila from 6:30 to 7pm.

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