MANILA -- Excise taxes on fuel should be suspended to cool inflation and help the poor cope with rising consumer prices, senatorial candidates said Sunday.
Eight candidates faced roadside vendor Aya Lachica, who asked them what they would do to halt price increases.
"Mataas na presyo, dapat may isang batas, walang patumpik-tumpik. Tanggalin ang VAT (value added tax) sa kuryente at tubig, fuel excise tax under TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law," said ex-Bayan Muna party-list Rep Neri Comenares.
(To address high prices, there should be a law to repeal VAT on power and water, and fuel excise tax under TRAIN.)
Excise taxes on diesel were imposed for the first time from Jan. 1 while the duty on other fuels were raised under TRAIN, which seeks to shore up government revenue while easing the tax burden on the middle class.
"Simpleng simple, hindi ba dahil sa langis, dahil sa taxes, 'yang buwis na 'yan dapat pag-aralan ang TRAIN law," said election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. Voters should avoid lawmakers who supported higher taxes, he said.
(It's simple, it's because of taxes on fuel, additional taxes under TRAIN should be revisited.)
Aside from excise taxes on fuel, former senator and trade secretary Mar Roxas said the farm sector should be strengthened.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said customs collections should be strengthened and rice imports should be timed properly.
Opposition candidate Erin Tanada said that aside from suspending excise taxes on fuel, there should be a uniform minimum wage to help people in the provinces cope with rising prices.
Former charter change body spokesman Ding Generoso said food production should be increased to boost supply and bring down prices.
The government should tap its gold reserves to ensure the "good flow" of the economy, said candidate Agnes Escudero.
Former police officer Abner Afuang described TRAIN as a "plague" (salot) and voters should know who pushed for higher taxes.