Lawmaker files bill to cut VAT by half on basic utilities

SAYING government should act decisively to address the skyrocketing prices in oil and basic utilities, party list Rep. Teddy Casiño today filed House Bill 6416 which aims to cut VAT rates by half in the prices of oil, power and water.

Casiño’s bill aims to reduce VAT to 6 percent for electricity, water services, and oil and petroleum products, in order to provide immediate relief to consumers and the domestic economy.

The 50 percent reduction of the VAT rate will bring down prices of oil products by as much three (3) pesos per liter, electricity rates by at least 38 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh) for lifeline electricity users and at least 50 pesos in the bills of residential water users, the lawmaker said.

“The VAT is a regressive tax that should not be imposed on basic utilities because it magnifies the problem of high prices. The windfall revenues that government collects due to soaring prices is immoral and an additional burden on the people,” Casiño stressed.

“At the start of the 15th Congress in 2010, I filed two bills to exempt oil and electricity from VAT but the Aquino administration refuses to even discuss these proposals. With this new bill to cut the VAT by half, we hope to revive discussions on the various proposals to remove or reduce the VAT on basic utilities,” said Casiño.

“Even if Pres. Aquino did not even mention this very pressing issue during his SONA, we believe Congress has to do something. Imagine, we have the highest power rates in Asia and prices will continue to rise. Nakakatatlong taas na ng presyo ng langis at pagpasok daw ng Agosto ay magkakaroon pa ng superhike sa presyo ng LPG. Kailangang mapigilan na ang mga ito at dapat umaksyon ang gobyerno laban dito,” said the progressive solon.

“I am calling on Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Isidro Ungab to immediately set a hearing for this bill and others measures that would alleviate the burden of rising prices,” said Casiño.

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