MANILA, Philippines — At the end of their second meeting, the bicameral conference committee on the sin tax reform bill on Thursday night agreed setting the measure’s revenue target to P33.5 billion.
Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, one of the members of the House contingent for the bicameral conference committee, has earlier said that they were deliberating on whether to set it at P35 billion or P33.5 billion.
This was how they tried to reconcile the two bills from both chambers which sought P31 billion for the version of the House of Representatives and P39 billion for the Senate version. Garin said discussions were unfinished on the rates of taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.
The panel reconvenes on Monday at 10 a.m. and is expected to discuss administrative allocation and earmarking of health projects.
She said that debates over the burden sharing between tobacco and alcohol products, ended with a 70-30 percentage burden sharing.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. felt that with the agreed upon increase on tax rates every two years the 70-30 percentage burden sharing would become 90-10 by 2017.
The burden will gradually be placed more and more on the tobacco industry, he said, lambasting that issues he and Recto raised against the said burden sharing was “sinasagasaan lang.”
“Ang pumapalag sa side ng House si Singson, (Camarines Sur 3rd district Representative Luis) Villafuerte at (Camarines Sur 4th district Representative Arnulfo) Fuentebella, sa amin ako at si (Senator Ralph) Recto,” he said, saying that the House contingent seemed hell-bent on getting their way with the measure.
The panel on its first meeting on Wednesday agreed to hike tax rates on alcohol and tobacco products every two years.
Marcos said that part of what they have covered during the second meeting were conceptual assumptions.
Aside from Marcos and Recto, senators Panfilo Lacson, siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, Sergio Osmena III, and Franklin Drilon met with Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II, House minority leader Danilo Suarez, Garin, Batanes Representative Henedina Abad, Fuentebella, Villafuerte, Negros Oriental Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong, Ilocos Sur Representative Eric Singson Jr., the House contingent for the bicameral conference committee on the sin tax bill.
Also present during the deliberations were Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares and Finance Undersecretary Jeremias Paul Jr.
They expect to come up with the sin tax reform measure before the end of the year.