Senate to pass sin tax reform bill—RectoBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines—The sin tax reform bill will likely be passed in the Senate after it resumes session, Senator Ralph Recto said Wednesday. The Senate is in sine die adjournment and will resume session on July 23.
“Malaki pagasa (Chances are big) and I do think we should pass a sin tax reform bill,” Recto, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, told reporters.
Recto noted that the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5727 weeks ago but that it has not been officially transmitted to the Senate. Nevertheless, Recto said they will prioritize the sin tax bill, which Malacañang has marked as urgent.
“We will conduct hearings as soon as we resume sessions. I don’t think it has been officially transmitted to the Senate yet. But we will give it utmost priority,” Recto told reporters.
He added that although he supports the bill, ways must be found so as not to “overburden” consumers.
“It is an administration measure; I do support the increase in sin taxes. But it must be in such a way that you do not overburden consumers. Si Juan de la Cruz ang magbabayad naman nito hindi naman (Juan de la Cruz will pay the tax, not the) cigaret company, hindi (not the) alcohol company,” Recto said.
He added that another issue that the senators should consider is who will benefit from the sin tax bill—will it be the local industry or those exporting alcohol and cigarets to our country?
“Another thing that we should look at is, will this benefit foreign or local? Will we be importing sin? I would rather export sin than import it,” he said.
He also warned that if the tax for cigarets is too high, though the tobacco industry will not likely die, it is highly possible that there will be more imports or there will be smuggling of imported products.
“So who are we protecting here? Are we giving incentives to importers or manufacturers? I mean, that’s the issue,” Recto said.
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