Health groups back higher fuel excise tax

Originally published in The Manila Standard

Two health advocacy groups joined the clamor to adjust the excise taxes on fuel under the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act to address air pollution and help mitigate the impact of global warming.

Health Care Without Harm and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, in separate positions papers, called on the government to use Train as a tool to clear the way for the country’s quick transition to more renewable energy sources and help ensure a cleaner, safer and more sustainable means of supplying the needs of the power and transport sectors.

ICSC also said it was supporting Train for “its progressive intent and equitable” effects, “as incremental revenues are needed for investments in human capital and badly needed infrastructure.”

“The oppositors of tax reform contend that any increase on refined petroleum products is anti-poor. We don’t agree with that proposition. Instead, we support the assertion of the DOF [Department of Finance] that the poor can better be helped through improved targeting of poverty alleviation programs, instead of subsidizing pollutive behavior,” ICSC said in its position paper submitted to the Senate ways and means committee chaired by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.