VIGAN, Philippines –The law which imposes steeper tax rates on tobacco and alcoholic products may face amendments in the 16th Congress if two opposition senatorial bets make it to the Senate.
Former senator Ernesto Maceda and Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile said that amendments were necessary to soften the blow the Sin Tax Law had on tobacco farmers in northern Luzon.
If elected as senator, Maceda said he intends to file a measure amending the new law which he felt was “fatal to the local industry.”
The new law is seen to generate P33.96 billion in revenues during its first year.
“Under the present formulation by 2015 and 2016, the tax rate of local and foreign brand cigarettes will be the same that will be fatal to the local industry and a lot of factories will close,” said Maceda.
Enrile, while he voted through a party stand by the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) to support the lower tax rate, said that he realized the law’s adverse effect on tobacco farmers.
“It is not fair to the farmers who cannot compete. Now it is up to the government to look for ways to best help this sector,” Enrile said.
Maceda wants to maintain the two-tier tax system with lower tax rates for local cigarettes.
“Under the present law, in a few years there will only be one tax rate for both foreign and local brands, which will put the local brands at a gross disadvantage,” he said.