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President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday claimed reducing the excise taxes on fuel would not solve the country’s skyrocketing oil prices.

In a media briefing, Marcos Jr. said he preferred providing assistance to people whose livelihoods were directly affected by the oil price hikes.

“I prefer to handle on the other hand of the equation and provide assistance to those who are in need. If you reduce excise taxes, that does not necessarily help those who are most in need, ‘yung talagang tinatamaan,” he said.

“‘Yung may kaya, they can afford to pay even the VAT, those whose livelihoods are in danger or in danger of losing their livelihoods because of the increase of the oil, doon tayo dapat mag-focus,” he added.

On Tuesday, oil prices increased by P0.80 per liter of gasoline and P3.10 per liter of diesel.

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

According to Dominguez, the “bottom 50 percent” of the Philippines, or the poorer half of the country’s population, only consumed 13 percent of the country’s fuel.

“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.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the distribution of a P500 monthly subsidy for poor families amid soaring oil prices. John Ezekiel J. Hirro