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 Senate panel poised to raise tobacco excise tax

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:28 PM February 08, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on ways and means has agreed,  in principle, to raise  the excise tax on tobacco products,  Senator  Sonny Angara said on  Friday.

“While there is no consensus yet on the final tax rate, there is an agreement in principle to increase the excise tax on tobacco products in order to raise funds for the Universal Health Care bill and substantially reduce the smoking prevalence among the youth,” Angara, chairman of the committee, said  in a statement.

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The committee terminated last Monday its hearings on  various  bills aimed at raising the excise  tax on tobacco  products from the current  P35 per pack.

A bill  approved by the House of Representatives  pegs the tobacco  tax rate  at  P37.50  per pack  while the tax rate being pushed in the  Senate ranges from   P60  to P90 per pack.

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During the three hearings conducted by the committee, Angara said, representatives from various government agencies, the health sector, tobacco-growing provinces, tobacco companies and sectors affected by the proposals presented their arguments and submitted their comments for consideration by members of the Senate panel.

He said a draft report on the measure, which contains the position of the stakeholders and technical inputs from the Senate Tax Study and Research Office, is already being prepared and will be circulated to committee members for consideration.

Aside from raising the tax rate, the committee is also inclined to increase the penalties against illicit tobacco trade to give more teeth to the law, Angara said.

He said  the  committee report  will be sponsored  and deliberated on the floor when  Congress  resumes its sessions in May.

Congress is set to go on break this Friday. / gsg

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TAGS: Angara, Excise Tax, Senate, Tobacco
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