Senate approves sin tax bill to raise cigarette prices by up to P20 per pack next year

The Senate on Tuesday night approved the sin tax reform bill, a measure that is projected to raise government revenues by P39.5 billion, on third and final reading.

The Senate on Tuesday night approved the sin tax reform bill, a measure that is projected to raise government revenues by P39.5 billion, on third and final reading.

 

Virgil Lopez and Jill Beltran of Sun.Star Online report the Senate approved the measure, 15-2,  after two long days of debate. If signed into law, the excise tax on lower-priced cigarettes will be set at P12 per pack, the tax on mid-priced cigarettes will be P16, and the tax on high-priced cigarettes will be P20 per pack next year. Excise taxes will increase every year until they reach P26 per pack in 2017.

 

"We would have wanted P30, but the reality is that it is a collective body and we tried to get the vote of our colleagues and this is the sweet...spot that we were able to find P26. Of course, a higher unitary tax is desirable, but (the) reality is that we have to submit this to the collective wisdom (of the Senate)," Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee said.

 

Money from the sin tax, which will also be collected on liquor, will go into medical infrastructure and services and to help tobacco farmers shift to planting alternative crops.

 

For more on this story, log on to Sun.Star Online.

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