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DOF pushes higher tax on ‘alcopops’

/ 05:30 AM August 10, 2019

The Department of Finance (DOF) is pushing for higher excise taxes on so-called “alcopops” or flavored alcoholic drinks to not only discourage young Filipinos from developing a drinking habit but also generate additional revenues for the Universal Health Care program.

“The marketing of alcohol products for some have shifted to younger and younger consumers,” Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II noted during a roundtable interview with Inquirer business editors and reporters Wednesday night.

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In the case of alcopops, Lambino said some products were being sold as ice pops or in pouch packaging, cheap (one product costs just P25) and available in convenience stores and supermarkets, sometimes lumped together with regular fruit juices in display shelves.

Even as one vodka cocktail drink, for instance, contained 7-percent alcohol, its “tetra pak” packaging could allow students to buy and even bring it to school, Lambino noted.

As such, the DOF is closely working with the departments of Education (DepEd) and of Health (DOH) to discourage alcopops consumption, Lambino said.

For the DOF, higher excise taxes could lessen purchases of alcopops.

“We’re going to treat it like fermented drinks, like beer. We’re going to tax the whole thing, not just the alcohol content,” Lambino said.

At present, alcopops are taxed at only P1.20 a liter since these are treated as distilled products; once taxed like fermented liquor, the excise will jump to P40 a liter by next year, he said.

The joint DOF-DOH proposal wanted to further jack up the excise tax rates slapped on alcopops to P45 a liter in 2021, P50 in 2022 and P55 in 2023, to be followed by an annual 10-percent indexation starting 2024.

Based on DOF estimates, the suggested retail price (SRP) of the 200-mL vodka cocktail manufactured by Destileria Limtuaco and Co. Inc. called Gaz will rise from P25 at present to about P32.60 by next year if the tax-increase proposal is approved.

In the case of Tanduay Distillers Inc.’s Tanduay Ice, the 330-mL bottle will be more expensive at P42.90 in 2020 from P29.50 currently. —BEN O. DE VERA

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TAGS: alcopops, Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II, Department of Finance, DoF
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