By MYRNA M. VELASCO
The Department of Energy (DOE) is enforcing strict field monitoring to prospectively apprehend violations of industry players on the implementation of the last tranche of increased excise taxes for petroleum products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.
The department said it has been keeping a close watch on the discharge of products from the oil companies’ terminals and depots onward to the gasoline stations where the commodities are being retailed to the consuming public.
The main variance being tracked by the DOE is the exact dates when the end-December 2019 inventories of the oil companies had been fully used up; and when had they started selling the new products with higher excise taxes.
Over the weekend, the DOE reported that increased excise taxes for various oil products are already enforced in more than 900 stations, and that accounts for roughly 10 percent of the total 9,003 retail networks that the Philippine downstream oil industry has.
The oil firms that already implemented higher excise taxes in a number of their stations had been Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, PTT Philippines, Chevron, PetroGazz, Seaoil and Total, and all of them had informed the DOE of their tax adjustments prior to enforcement.
With value-added tax, the increased excise taxes for petroleum products had been set at ₱1.12 per liter for gasoline; ₱1.12 per kilogram for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for households; and ₱1.68 per liter for diesel.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the department “has been undertaking all necessary measures to ensure that all tranches of excise taxes on petroleum products are properly implemented.”
He noted that on top of the regular monitoring that the department’s Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) has been exerting, the agency is similarly having “verification inspections to make sure that the depots and terminals are complying with the provisions of the TRAIN Law.”
As prescribed, the oil companies must have display boards at their stations informing the public that their products already carry higher excise taxes – and it must also be specified on when the adjustments became effective.
The DOE indicated that as of Friday (January 24), 48 of the 67 LPG depots; and 40 out of the 116 fuel depots have already enforced additional taxes, entailing that their stocks as of December 31 had already been exhausted.
At the level of the LPG refilling facilities, the energy department specified that four out of 297 plants already applied the higher excise taxes as of January 10.
The department reiterated “it will continue monitoring retail outlets and their implementation of the taxation scheme to uphold the best interests of all consumers.”