MANILA, Philippines – The volume of marked tax-paid oil products breached seven billion liters as of last week, thanks to the fuel marking program’s exemption from movement restrictions during the ongoing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a statement Tuesday, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said 7.042 billion liters of fuel products had been marked between September last year and April 23.

“The BOC’s fuel marking operations will continue during the extended period of the community quarantine” until May 15, it said.

To date, the bulk or 75 percent of marked fuel remained in Luzon; 20 percent in Mindanao; and 5 percent in the Visayas.

The 20 oil firms whose products had paid duties for imports and excise taxes for locally refined goods included Chevron Philippines Inc., ERA1 Petroleum Corp., Golden Share Commerce and Trading Inc., High Glory Subic International Logistics, Insular Oil Corp., Jade Link Subic Inc., Jetti Petroleum Inc., Marubeni Corp., Micro Dragon Petroleum Corp., Oilink International Bataan, Petron Corp., Phoenix Petroleum Corp., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., PTT Philippines Corp., Seaoil Philippines, SL Gas, SL Harbor, Total Philippines/Filoil, Unioil Petroleum Philippines, and Warbucks Industries Corp.

“The fuel marking program, as part of our tax reform, is having a positive effect on our revenues and therefore on our ability to withstand the ill effects of the [COVID-19] contagion,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said last week.

As of mid-April, year-to-date tax collections not only declined year-on-year but also fell below target due to extended payment deadlines in consideration of the lockdown period, as well as limited business operations of firms leading to lower incomes.

Under the joint fuel marking guidelines issued last year, the BOC conducts fuel marking in depots, tank trucks, vessels, warehouses and other fuel-transporting vehicles.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), meanwhile, tests in refineries, their attached depots, gasoline stations and other retail outlets.

The country’s two biggest tax-collection agencies had been granted with deputization and police authorities during field testing so they can seize adulterated, diluted or unmarked petroleum as well as arrest unscrupulous traders.

The joint venture of SGS Philippines Inc. and Switzerland-based SICPA SA had been not only producing and providing the ready-to-use official marker, but also conducting actual marking in all taxable oil products nationwide under their five-year contract.

For 2020, the government was eyeing to collect an additional P20 billion in revenues through the fuel marking program.

GSG

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