BOXING champion and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, who is running for president, on Tuesday said he favors a proposal to hold special sessions so lawmakers could pass a bill that will suspend excise taxes on fuel amid surging prices.

“I am against the increase in taxes,” he said in a statement in mixed English and Filipino. The government should boost income from public utilities and government-owned companies instead, he added.

There are no plans to hold special sessions, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III told reporters in a Viber message.

A House of Representatives committee has endorsed to the plenary a bill that will suspend excise taxes on diesel kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for six months.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law raised the excise tax on fuel in three tranches from 2018 to 2020. The tax rates are P10 per liter of gasoline, P6 for diesel, P5 for kerosene and P3 for LPG.

Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda who heads the House of Representatives ways and means committee, earlier noted that under the bill, rates would go back once fuel prices normalize.

The bill also seeks to set up a social impact stabilization fund that will provide subsidies to affected sectors such as farmers, fisherfolk and transport workers. This will be funded by a P2 a liter charge for diesel and gasoline if global crude oil prices go below $45 (P2,300) per barrel.

A counterpart measure is also pending at a Senate committee.

Mr. Pacquiao said the government should review the books of oil companies, which he accused of being a cartel.

“We should look at their books to know the truth because I believe there is a conspiracy among the cartel members,” he said. — ANOT

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