President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Department of Finance’s (DOF) recommendation to retain the excise tax on fuel amid skyrocketing oil prices in the country.

In his “Talk to the People” address, the president chose to grant a P200 monthly cash aid or “ayuda” to some 12 million low-income families instead.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said suspending the excise tax on fuel would lose the government P105.9 billion in 2022.

“In 2023, that goes up to P114.4 billion; in 2024, P123.6 billion; and so on. For the 10-year average of P160.3 billion a year or a total of P1.76 trillion for 10 years. This is equivalent to roughly one half of one percent of our GDP (gross domestic product),” Dominguez told Duterte.

The P200 ayuda program will benefit more poor Filipinos, Dominguez added.

“The bottom 50 percent of the Philippines, they only consume 13 percent of the fuel. So, cutting the tax will benefit more the people who have cars and the other richer people. We will not be benefitting so much the bottom 50 percent of our population, that will make it very inequitable,” he said.

Since 2022, diesel prices increased P30.65 per liter, gasoline by P20.35 per liter, and kerosene by 21.90 per liter. John Ezekiel J. Hirro