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House panel awaits DoF version of ‘soda’ tax bill

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 197

THE proposed P10 excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is currently being refined by a House panel, as it awaits a version from the Department of Finance (DoF).

The House Committee on Ways and Means has approved its own version of the measure, however, it is also consulting the DoF to make the bill more effective and doable.
   
The House version stressed the need to impose higher taxes on SSB for health and revenue purposes.
   
Just recently, the committee chaired by Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua held a hearing on proposals to impose an excise tax on SSB during which Finance Undersecretary  Karl Kendrick Chua assured the panel the DoF will submit its own proposal on the measure after the agency is done with  studies and consultations with experts.
   
“We are currently in the process of consulting and refining our proposal. So the DoF has not yet submitted its proposed legislation. We are proposing to submit it once we have consulted significantly the experts on how to properly do this taxation,”  Chua said.
   
According to Chua, the DoF agreed with the authors’ proposal to levy the tax on liter capacity basis of SSB.
   
However, for powder and other forms, Chua said a complementary measure will enforce proper labeling so that the recommended mix of powder or other forms would be followed in levying the tax.
   
Chua said another option is to consider a taxation based on the mass or the amount of sugar.
   
The Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez intends to focus first on the preparation of Tax Package 1 and  Package 2, which includes the SSB excise tax, and will be submitted to the House soon after all the studies and consultations with the experts have been completed.
   
Batangas Rep Lianda Bolilia, one of the authors of the bill, said while the proposed excise tax on SSB will generate significant amount of revenues for the government, she is more concerned about the SSB’s impact on public health considering several researches and studies showing the correlation between consumption of sugar to obesity, excess weight and other diseases.
   
Prior to the congressional adjournment, the committee held its first hearing on  HB Bill 292 authored by Reps. Estrellita Suansing and Horacio Suansing Jr.
   
In the 16th Congress, Rep. Suansing filed a similar bill imposing a P10 excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages per liter of volume capacity. The bill was approved by the Committee on Ways and Means then chaired by Rep. Romero Quimbo.
   
The bill is expected to generate P34 billion in revenue for the government and has the support of the Department of Health (DoH) and DoF.