THE government’s fuel marking program processed 16.43 billion liters of fuel as of Dec. 8, bringing it closer to its goal of marking the entire Philippine inventory of fuel, according to the Department of Finance (DoF).

“Our goal is to have 100% of fuel oil inventory at any time marked,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a Viber message Friday. His estimate for the current level of fuel marking was almost 100%.

DoF documents obtained by BusinessWorld indicate that 12.05 billion liters of fuel were processed during the first year of the program, which was launched in September 2019. Following the anniversary, 4.38 billion liters was marked as of Dec. 8.

The program facilitated the collection of P162.8 billion in revenue, with P140.7 billion generated by Bureau of Customs duties and P22.08 billion worth of excise taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Around 74% of the products were marked in Luzon, 21% in Mindanao and 5% in the Visayas.

Diesel accounted for 61.65% of the total, 37.8% gasoline and the rest kerosene.

The fuel marking program aims to deter smuggling by injecting the products with a special dye to signify tax compliance. The absence of the dye is deemed prima facie evidence that the fuel was smuggled.

The two agencies started collecting a fuel marking fee of P0.06884 per liter on Sept. 4, inclusive of value-added tax, charged on all manufactured, refined or imported petroleum products. The new fee structure was imposed after a year of marking-fee subsidies ended. — Beatrice M. Laforga