Signature Drive Vs VAT on Oil, Power Resumes

Groups press Congress to rush bills removing VAT on oil and power

As another round of oil price hikes looms over the weekend, groups behind the Kontra-KulimVAT, a campaign to cancel the 12% value added tax (VAT) on electricity and petroleum products, resumed today their signature drive this time in various LRT stations.

The signature campaign, held simultaneously in LRT stations in Monumento, Blumentritt, Carriedo, Pedro Gil, and Baclaran, aims to pressure legislators to rush the approval of bills removing the VAT on oil and power before Congress takes a break in mid-June.

“We could not afford any further delay because prices continue to go up. Tonight or over the weekend, oil firms are expected to again jack up their pump prices and they will implement more increases in the coming weeks. We hope Congress appreciates the urgency of the problem,” said Arnold Padilla, Kontra-KulimVAT spokesperson.

Padilla said that while Malacañang opposes the bills, the people’s warm response to the signature drive that started last week shows that there is a strong public clamor for Congress to prioritize the removal of the VAT on oil and power.

Kontra-KulimVAT groups earlier disclosed that the Arroyo administration earns additional revenues of around P5.5 million daily for every P1 per liter increase in pump prices which explains why it does not want to scrap the VAT and control oil prices.

Meanwhile, official data from the Department of Finance (DOF) show that in 2007, government collected P29 billion from the VAT on oil and P11.4 billion from power.

The groups also slammed the DOF for saying that cancelling the VAT on oil and power will “impair the delivery of services” by government.

“When the DOF pushed for the imposition of the VAT on oil and power in 2005 due to pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), social services were never in the equation. Their primary concern then, and now, was the country’s credit worthiness. They wanted to assure foreign creditors that government can pay its debts, not to raise more funds for public hospitals, housing or education,” Padilla pointed out.

He added that if government truly intends to ease the people’s burden, one of the most urgent and doable policy reforms is the removal of the VAT on oil and power to immediately bring down their costs.

Padilla said that they will submit the signatures to the House of Representatives which has been conducting hearings on various proposals to scrap the VAT on oil and power.

The signature campaign will continue in the coming days in different public places around Metro Manila. #(PinoyPress)

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