Health advocates from the Sin Tax Coalition praised the move to certify Senate Bill 1074, which proposes to significantly raise the taxes on alcoholic beverages, heated tobacco products and vapor products.
READ: Tax hike targets ‘sin’ items
The certification was released by the office of the President on Tuesday.
For the past months, the Sin Tax Coalition has been writing to the office of the President asking it to release a certification of urgency for the measure to raise taxes on alcoholic beverages and e-cigarettes,’’ said Anthony Leachon, the coalition’s co-convener.
As such, we welcome the news that this important health measure has been certified as urgent. We now call on our senators to heed the call of the President and quickly approve the reform.”
Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s admonition to certify the sin tax law as urgent.
“We need funds to finance the Universal Health Care law,” said Barzaga, chairman of the House committee on natural resources.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the administration would need funds for its Build Build Build projects that will benefit the people.
“We have to look for sources of funds and this is one way to generate funds,” Pimentel said.
READ: Reform to hike excise taxes must be up
Senate Bill 1074 was sponsored by Senate Ways and Means committee chairman Pia Cayetano. She aims to align the tax rate of HTPs and vape with traditional cigarettes at P45 beginning next year, P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022 and P60 in 2023, and with a five-percent annual increases from 2024 onwards.
For alcoholic beverages, Cayetano seeks to increase the tax on distilled spirits from P23.5 to P90 per proof liter with a 20-percent ad-valorem tax beginning next year.
Meanwhile, fermented liquors and alcopops would be taxed at P45 per liter, up from P25.40. Finally, a specific tax of P600 would be imposed on sparkling wines while a specific tax of P43 would be imposed on still and carbonated wines beginning 2020.
READ: ‘Prioritize bills to hike taxes on vapes, alcohol’
An increase in the excise tax on sin products has long been considered an effective tool in curbing the consumption of these goods, particularly among the youth and the poor.
Meanwhile, Leachon also noted that one of the possible reasons for the certification of urgency was to bridge the growing funding gap for the Universal Health Care Law.
As was revealed during the previous interpellations, the anticipated budget for health is lower than expected, which means that the funding shortfall for UHC is now greater,” Leachon said.
“A shortage of funds will lead to a delay in fulfilling the promise of quality and affordable health care for all Filipinos.”
According to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Senate Bill 1074 is expected to raise at least P47.9 billion in incremental revenue in its first year of implementation. With Maricel V. Cruz
READ: Sin tax hike will make Filipinos healthier—DOH