Senators ‘to do their best’ to pass sin tax bill before Congress ends — Zubiri
MANILA, Philippines — The senators “agreed to do our best” to pass the bill seeking to raise the excise tax on tobacco products before Congress adjourns on June 7, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Wednesday.
Zubiri said this following a meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who has been vocal of his call for the passage of the bill.
“We, the senators, all agreed to do our best to pass this before the break. Sponsorship will start on Monday,” Zubiri said in a message to reporters.
The Senate majority leader said that the finance secretary underscored the need for additional funding for the Universal Health Care Law which was recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
READ: Universal healthcare now a law
“We discussed only sin taxes, particularly tobacco tax. The Secretary reiterated the need for additional funding for our new Universal Health Care measure as we have a large budget deficit for that program,” Zubiri said.
In an earlier interview, Zubiri admitted that the bill has “lukewarm” support in the upper chamber, on top of the time constraint it faces.
“I’m fully in support of increasing the sin taxes. Ang problema lang marami po tayong mga kasamahan na medyo napikon dun sa veto ng kanilang measures, which were all recommended by the finance team,” Zubiri said referring to the President’s veto of some measures pushed by the finance department, including the coconut levy bill and the bill that seeks to expand the powers of the Office of the Solicitor General.
(I’m fully in support of increasing the sin taxes. The problem is that we have colleagues who were turned off when the President vetoed their measures, which were all recommended by the finance team.)
Because of this, Zubiri said there is no assurance that the Senate will approve the bill. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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