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Congress can still OK tobacco tax hike by June, says lawmaker 

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 12:49 PM May 20, 2019

 

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday expressed confidence that Congress could still pass a measure that will raise the excise  tax on tobacco products  before it  adjourns   on June  7.

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After  a three-month break, Congress  will its session Monday  afternoon.

“We have nine session days na naiiwan,  (it) is actually  the best opportunity to pass this bill,”  Gatchalian said in a press conference at the Senate, noting that more  sectors are already supporting  the measure.

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The House of Representatives has already  approved its own version of the measure which pegs the  tobacco tax rate at P37.50 per pack while in the Senate, three bills  have been filed seeking to raise the tax rate   from  P60  to P90 per pack.

The Senate committee on ways and means, headed by  Senator  Sonny Angara, however, has yet  to  release its report for discussion  in the plenary.

If Angara could bring the measure  on the floor by  Monday or Tuesday,  Gatchalian said the Senate  can  approve it by next week on third and final reading.

Both the Senate and the House, he said, may ratify the measure   before the June  adjournment of Congress.

“Kayang kaya pa ho, with  nine session days , kung mag o-overtime ho ito kayang-kaya mapasa ho ito,”  said Gatchalian, one of the authors  of the bill in the Senate.

“Ang kelangan lang natin  e makausap yung ating mga paboritong  senador   para mahingan  yung kanilang mga suporta.”

Aside from Gatchalian, Senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejerctio  have also filed   separate  measures seeking to raise the  tobacco tax rate.

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Gatchalian noted that the  bill  already has the support of the Department of Health, Department of Finance and health  advocates, among others.

In the Senate, he said, four  senators have also openly  backed the measure.

“I think openly we have  four senators na openly  (supporting the measure) aside from the 3 authors,” Gatchalian said.

“Senator (Risa)  Hontiveros signified her support so meron tayong 4 senators na sumusuporta dito sa  batas na ito,”  he added. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)

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TAGS: Cpngress, Gatchalian, latest news, pass law, Senate, Tobacco Excise Tax
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