Drilon hopeful sin tax bill will be passed by Senate on or before JanuaryBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Franklin Drilon is confident that the Senate can pass the controversial sin tax bill either in December this year or in January in 2013 despite Senator Ralph Recto’s resignation as chairman of the Senate ways and means committee.
In case he assumes Recto’s position, Drilon, vice chairman of the committee, said they would try to have the bill approved in the Senate before it starts plenary deliberations on the 2013 budget on November 14.
At the latest, he said, the Senate will pass the bill in January next year.
Congress will take a break on October 18 and will resume on November 5. It will again go on recess before Christmas and will resume on the 2nd week of January, 2013.
“Sa akin po kayang ipasa basta umakto kaagad ang Senado. Kayang ipasa itong anti-cancer bill kung hindi man sa December kahit po sa Enero,” Drilon said in a radio interview on Tuesday.
He said floor deliberations on the bill should not be hampered by Recto’s resignation, saying the chairman alone could not withdraw the committee report.
“Ang committee report ay report ng committee. At ang sabi nga ni Senator Chiz Escudero kahapon, hindi naman pwedeng chairman lang magwi-withdraw. Yan po ay mananatili pa (The committee report is the report of the committee. And like what Senator Chiz Escudero said on Monday, it can’t be withdrawn by the chairman only. That will stay),” Drilon said.
“Sa akin po manatili dapat ang committee report. Ngunit pagdating ng period of amendment, yun po ay pwedeng baguhin, (For me, the committee report should stay. But during the period of amendment, it can still be changed),” he said.
Drilon said he himself would propose a two-tier and unitary tax rate of the bill after two years unlike the 3-tier tax imposition as provided for in the committee report. A two-tier or multi-tier refers to the level and classification of tax imposition on tobacco and alcohol products.
Also under Recto’s report, Drilon said, the unitary tax rate or a uniform tax rate will only be imposed in 2020.
But Drilon said a uniform tax on sin products should be imposed after two years of implementation of the law.