Senate now reviewing sin tax law

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Its impact on revenue and public health

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The Senate Congressional Oversight Committee on the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (COCCTRP) is now reviewing the impact of the Sin Tax Reform Act on both revenue collections and public health, the Department of Finance said on Friday.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara has informed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd that the Senate has started the process of reviewing the law, the DOF said in a statement. Angara heads the oversight committee.

The Senate panel “has already been constituted” and has Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva and Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto as members, Angara was quoted as saying in the letter.

“We assure you that the COCCTRP is doing its best to fulfill its mandate to review the impact of the Sin Tax Reform Act and ensure that its revenue implications will help finance the Universal Health Care program of the government, and would contribute in addressing public health issues relating to alcohol and tobacco consumption in the country,” he added.

Angara, who also chairs the ways and means committee, said in a letter to Dominguez that he has requested for information from several government agencies to assist the panel in reviewing the proper implementation of the law.

The agencies that have so far responded are the DOF, the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs, the Departments of Labor and Employment, of Health, and of Budget and Management, the Philippine Statistics Authority, the National Tobacco Administration, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The Senate review is in response to Dominguez’s appeal to allow the measure to “run its course” after a bill seeking to retain a two-tiered excise tax on cigarette was railroaded in the House of Representatives late last year.

Dominguez made his appeal ahead of the adoption of a unitary tax system for tobacco products, as mandated by the sin tax law.

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