House ready for special session to address oil crisis

File photo shows the Batasang Pambansa Complex

The leadership of the House of Representatives on Monday vowed to look into all possible options to cushion the impacts of rising oil prices, saying Congress is now on standby for a special session to suspend or reduce the excise taxes on fuel.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco issued a statement as the ad hoc committee that he created conducted a hearing Monday to discuss measures on how to reduce the soaring prices of fuel in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

According to Velasco, the House is ready in the event President Rodrigo Roa Duterte calls for a special session of Congress to pass legislation suspending or reducing fuel excise taxes.

He said that the 1987 Constitution bestows the power upon the President to call a special session at any time.

“We are more than willing to hold a special session in case President Duterte calls for it,” he added.

“We can’t just sit idly by while our kababayan are suffering from the impacts of unabated oil price hikes. We must do something; we must find solutions to this crisis,” Velasco said.

The Fuel Crisis Ad Hoc Committee, composed of chairpersons of four key House panels, tackled the impacts of the fuel crisis on inflation, trade and commodity prices, agriculture, supply and demand, and transport sector.

“We expect the ad hoc committee to fully assess the economic impact of the drastic increase in oil prices and come up with recommendations on how the government can address the problem at the soonest possible time,” Velasco said.

“I believe that what the government is doing, giving subsidies to targeted beneficiaries who are severely affected by unabated oil price hikes, is the best solution for now,” Velasco added.

The government had announced it is preparing to release P2.5 billion for subsidy program providing fuel vouchers to qualified members of the public transport sector, on top of the P500 million in fuel discounts for farmers and fisherfolk.

Image credits: Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacañang Presidential Photographers Division via AP


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