Gov’t to start fuel marking before year ends, insists Dominguez

MANILA – The Philippine government’s fuel marking program is a go this year with at least 95 percent of all marking sites operational by end of 2019.

“The implementation of the fuel marking program is expected to boost government revenue by at least P5 billion in 2019,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a message to journalists on Monday.

A copy of Joint Circular 001-2019 by the Department of Finance (DOF) and its attached agencies, Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), was published in a major daily on July 5.

Dominguez said issuance of the circular “is a product of extensive preparations that started in November 2018.”

Among those consulted for the crafting of the regulation are the partner agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and industry players.

Dominguez said the circular “incorporates results of various tests carried out since late last year, as well as the unique operational processes of various import terminals and local production facilities.”

He stressed that “we have been able to confirm that the physical and chemical properties of marked fuel remained unchanged over time.”

“The fuel analyzers have also undergone repeated tests in their ability to detect whether unmarked fuel has been mixed into the fuel supply. We also determined how best to streamline the marking process into day-to-day operations,” he said.

“With the issuance of the circular and under the terms of reference with the French consortium that won the bid, at least 95 percent of all marking sites will be operational by the end of the year,” he said.

“The consortium will deliver equipment to our marking sites over the next few weeks and marking operations are scheduled to begin this quarter,” he added.

The fuel-marking contract was awarded to Switzerland-based security ink technology provider Société Industrielle et Commerciale de Produits Alimentaires (SICPA).

Under the plan, the government will pay the P0.6884 per liter fuel marking fee for the first year of implementation, while payment for the second to fifth year will be shouldered by the oil companies.

The fee is on top of the duties and taxes to be collected from the oil companies by the BIR and the BOC.

The fuel marking program is targeted to address smuggling, which Finance officials said is costing the government at least P20 billion in revenues annually. This requirement is included under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Finance officials said fees that would be collected from the oil companies will be placed in a fuel marketing trust fund, which will then be used for the implementation of the program. (PNA)


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