By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Following the approval of an amendment to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill, introduced by Senator Joel Villanueva, that called for an increase to the excise tax on coal from P10 per metric ton (MT) to P300 per MT, a 3,000 percent increase, Power Watch Negros (PWN) Secretary-General Wennie Sancho expressed his opposition, saying it would negatively impact power consumers.
In an interview yesterday morning, he said the tax hike, which will likely be formally introduced in 2018, would trigger an increase to electricity prices.
“Whatever the [government] gets in lowering the income tax will be negated by the effect of the imposition of excise tax,” he explained.
Sancho added, at a time when workers are demanding more pay due to “eroded” purchasing power, this excise tax hike will likely create a domino effect and increase the price of other goods and services.
Under the said amendment, the excise tax on coal will begin at P100 per MT in 2018, then grow to 200 per MT in 2019, and P300 per MT in 2020.
Meanwhile, environmental groups have lauded the proposal, claiming it would force “coal oligarchs to pay their dues” or switch to “greener and renewable energy alternatives.”/DGB, WDJ