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Fuel marking program yields P193 billion in taxes

The fuel-marking program aims to deter smuggling by injecting the products with a special dye to signify tax compliance. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

THE government’s fuel marking program generated P192.756 billion from duties and taxes on fuel products since it was launched in September 2019, data from the Department of Finance (DoF) showed on Monday.

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) collected P166.176 billion of duties and taxes from September 2019 to Feb. 17 this year.

At the same time, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) generated P26.58 billion in excise taxes from December 2019 to Feb. 11 this year.

The two agencies processed 19.903 billion liters of fuel products as of Feb. 17, with 60% or 12.05 billion liters processed during the first year of implementation.

By region, 73.8% or 14.7 billion liters of fuel were marked in Luzon, 21% or 4.2 billion liters in Mindanao and 5% or over one billion liters in Visayas.

Diesel accounted for 61% or 12.2 billion liters of the total, followed by gasoline with 38% or 7.6 billion liters and kerosene with 105 million liters.

The fuel marking program aims to deter oil smuggling by injecting the products with a special dye to signify tax compliance. The absence of the dye is deemed prima facie evidence that the fuel was smuggled.

The government started collecting in September 2020 the fuel marking fee of P0.06884 per liter, inclusive of value-added tax, charged on all manufactured, refined or imported petroleum products.

The fee was imposed after the one-year program for subsidized fees ended that month. Oil companies will now have to shoulder the costs in the next four years.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. and House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said Customs should beef up efforts against fuel smuggling, which cost P357 billion in foregone revenues from 2010 to 2019.

“While fuel marking has helped lower smuggling, the bleeding on the revenue side is still growing because we raised taxes on fuel products in 2018,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Salceda called on the BoC and the DoF to form a task force against fuel smuggling.

“I am urging this task force to be created. Undertake programs and audits that will catch fuel smuggling. Expand the fuel-marking program. Help us with new policy proposals to close loopholes on fuel smuggling. If necessary, we are willing to expand the budget for surveillance and investigation,” he said.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said the agency already has a task force in charge of monitoring the fuel marking program. The task force includes representatives from the BoC, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Energy, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. — Beatrice M. Laforga and Gillian M.Cortez

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