PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a proposed Senate bill increasing excise tax on liquor, e-cigarettes, and vapor products, including electronic cigarettes.
In a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd on Tuesday, Duterte called for the “immediate enactment” of Senate Bill 1074 “to address the urgent need to generate additional revenue to support the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and to further protect the right to health of the people.”
Under the bill, fermented liquor (beer) and alcopops will face a specific tax rate of P45 per liter on the first year of implementation—which will increase by P10 every year until the fourth year. The specific tax rate will increase by 10 percent every year thereafter.
The bill also proposes to increase e-cigarettes (under the heat-not-burn product category) rates from P10 per pack to P45 per pack on the first year.
Wine products will also be slapped with a specific tax of P600 per liter for sparkling, and P43 per liter for still and carbonated wines.
Lawmakers have previously expressed a possible “win-win situation” with the bill’s passage— as it seeks to “curb” vices while supporting the nationwide health program.
If passed into law, the measure could generate P47.9 billion for the Universal Health Care program next year, and a total of P356.9 billion for the program over the next five years based on Department of Finance estimates.
A counterpart version of the measure was approved in the House of Representatives in August. CATHERINE S. VALENTE