THE House of Representatives, via voice vote, approved on second reading on Wednesday the measure increasing the excise tax on tobacco products.
House Bill 8677 proposed to increase excise taxes by P2.50 annually until it reaches P45 in 2022; and shall be increased by 4% every year thereafter. If enacted, the measure will increase the excise tax on tobacco products to P37.50 per pack from P35 in 2019; P40 in 2020; P42.50 in 2021; and P45 in 2020.
The measure retained the annual 4% increase, already imposed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
The TRAIN Law increased excise tax to P32.50 from P30 in January 2018 and increased it to P35 beginning July 2018. It is scheduled to go up to P37.50 in January 2020.
The approved version allocates 85% of the incremental revenue from the new tax measure to fund the Universal Health Care (UHC), which has just hurdled the bicameral conference committee; while the remaining 15% will be used to assist tobacco farmers.
The Senate had also started deliberating Senate Bill 1599 of Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao, and Senate Bill 1605, written by Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, which had proposed to increase to levy P60 and P90 per pack, respectively. — Charmaine A. Tadalan