A HOUSE committee approved Wednesday a bill that will impose a P10 excise tax on single-use plastic bags at the factory level or upon the arrival of imported bags.

At a hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday, members approved House Bill No. 178, which seeks to limit the use of single-use plastic bags by imposing a tax as a deterrent. The bill covers single-use carrier bags with or without handles.

If enacted, P10 will be levied and collected per single use-plastic bag released from the place of production or from the customs house, exposing producers and importers to a tax regime similar to that in place for the cigarette industry.

The bill’s author, Nueva Ecija 1st District Estrellita B. Suansing, said taxing single-use plastic bags will help reduce their presence in the market because properly disposing of plastic bags has proved to be difficult.

“We are just controlling the use of plastic bags because this causes clogging of waterways and canals. This is our way of reducing of plastic bags. We are not banning the use of plastic bags in this bill,” she said at the hearing.

Ms. Suansing said the law encourages other environment-friendly alternatives to plastic carriers, which are normally used by consumers.

The bill calls for 50% of the total tax collected from plastic carriers to go to the Solid Waste Management Fund, set up under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. — Gillian M. Cortez