THE House Committee on Ways and Means approved a bill calling for a P20 per kilogram tax on single-use plastic shopping bags Tuesday, a measure intended to raise P4.8 billion to fund the enforcement of the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

House Bill 178, which if signed into law will become the Single-Use Plastic Bag Tax Act, seeks to encourage the “exploration and utilization of environment-friendly alternatives” and generate additional revenue for the government by imposing an excise tax on single-use plastic bags.

According to the committee’s Chairman, Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, the target revenue for this measure is P4.8 billion which is “100% earmarked” for solid waste management and implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“It’s just the first step. The next step is a tax on primary plastic packaging especially sachets since they account for 2/3 of solid waste and garbage” Mr. Salceda said in a Viber message to reporters, adding that the Committee deferred the next step due to “possible food inflation and prices of basic commodities.”

He said a tax on sachets could be revisited in “three or four years” particularly if poverty levels drop, easing the potential burden on poorer consumers who buy commodities in smaller quantities. — Genshen L. Espedido