THE House Committee on Ways and Means approved a measure that will impose a P20 tax on plastic carrier bags by weight, with the measure estimated to be capable of generating up to P4 billion in taxes annually if enacted.

In a hearing Monday, the House tax panel approved the unnumbered substitute bill that will levy and collect a P20 excise tax per kilogram of plastic carrier bags removed from the place of production or the customs house.

An earlier version of the bill, House Bill (HB) 178, was approved by the House Committee on Appropriations last week. HB 178 proposed a P10 excise tax on single-use plastic carriers.

The panel’s chairman, Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, said the tax estimate was based on a Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives finding that the Philippines disposes of 93 million plastic bags daily.

The substitute bill directs 100% of the revenue collected to solid waste management programs of local government units as authorized by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Nueva Ecija 1st District Estrellita B. Suansing, author of HB 178, has said that taxing plastic bags will reduce usage and promote environmentally-friendly alternatives. Improperly disposed plastic carriers are linked to clogged waterways that put cities at risk of flooding. — Gillian M. Cortez