Fuel smuggling down due to petroleum marking
With smuggling kept at bay by the fuel marking program, the government collected a cumulative P324.5 billion in import duties and excise taxes from oil products as of last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Dominguez told reporters on Monday that the duties generated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from imported petroleum since marking began in September 2019 up to Nov. 25 amounted to P294.6 billion. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), for its part, collected P29.8 billion.
As of Nov. 26. a total of 32.9 billion liters of oil had been injected with a chemical marker signifying payments of correct tax dues.
Diesel, gasoline and kerosene—the three most used fuel products in the country—were being marked at import terminals, refinery facilities, as well as retail gas stations.
Dominguez earlier said that the billions of pesos in tax revenues generated with the help of fuel marking meant that the fight against oil smuggling was already won.
BOC Deputy Commissioner Teddy Sandy Raval last week told legislators that prior to the fuel marking program put in place by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the government lost P27 to 44 billion from smuggling yearly.
Government estimates in 2016 showed that revenues foregone due to oil smuggling accounted for more than half of the actual duties and taxes collected by the BOC and the BIR annually.
At present, 25 oil firms and the country’s lone refinery operated by Petron Corp. were participating in fuel marking. So far, Petron had the highest cumulative volume of fuel marked products, at 7.8 billion liters.
Other firms with big volumes of marked goods included Shell, Unioil, Insular Oil, Seaoil, Phoenix, Chevron and Filoil.
—BEN O. DE VERA INQ
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