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House panel signals openness to lowering P10 plastic bag tax

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PHILSTAR

THE House Committee on Ways and Means is open to lowering the proposed P10 excise tax on plastic bags as a compromise with the industry.

“We’re not interested in killing industry. We are proposing an excise tax because we want to control the use of plastic bags,” Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing, who chairs the committee, told reporters after the committee meeting on Wednesday.

“If P10 is too burdensome for them, maybe we can adjust the rate,” she also said.

The committee was conducting initial deliberations on House Bills 8523 and 8558, which both seek to levy P10 on plastic bags used in supermarkets, malls, and other establishments.

The measures, written respectively by Sultan Kudarat 2nd district Rep. Horacio P. Suansing, Jr. and Manila 3rd district Rep. John Marvin C. Nieto, are both designed to discourage plastic use.

The committee is set to hold on Monday a technical working group meeting to consolidate the bills.

Philippine Plastic Industry Association President Willy Go, for his part said the tax would be “detrimental for the industry.

“Imposing excise tax of P10 is a 1,000% increase on the cost of a plastic bag. This is an anti-poor measure and detrimental to the growth of the industry,” he told the committee.

“If the excise tax is implemented, this will instantly kill the industry and millions will be jobless,” he added. — Charmaine A. Tadalan