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11 senators, so far, sign panel report on tobacco tax hike

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:43 PM May 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Eleven senators have so far signed a committee report, raising the tobacco tax from the  present P35 per pack  to up to  P60 per back by  2023.

The number of signatories is more than the majority of the members of the Senate committee on ways and means needed to bring the report for plenary discussion.

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The 11 signatories  are Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the committee, and Senators JV Ejercito,  Risa Hontiveros,  Sherwin Gatchalian,  Panfilo Lacson, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Nancy Binay,  Loren  Legarda , Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senate President Pro Tempore  Ralph Recto.

Three of the signatories are part of the opposition bloc in the Senate.

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The measure, approved by the committee, seeks to raise the  tax on tobacco products  from P35 to P45  per pack  in 2020 and to P50 per pack  in 2021.

In 2022, the tax on tobacco would  be raised further  to  P55  per pack, and to  P60 per pack in 2023.

The tax rates, according to the committee report, would likewise be increased  by 5 percent every year starting January 1, 2024.

READ: Senate panel draft seeks P45 to P60 tax on tobacco

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III is hopeful that Congress could  pass the   measure before it adjourns sine die  on  June  7.

“Again, we hope that  this last five session days this bill can be passed because we need funds for the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Program,”  Dominguez said in an interview at the Senate on Monday.

He said the estimated amount needed to fund the UHC for the next five years is P1.4 trillion.

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Currently, he said the government has only P1 trillion  for the UHC.

“The amount we have right now is only P1 trillion so we’re going to be short P400B, roughly P400B for the Universal Healthcare,” Dominguez pointed out.  (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)

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TAGS: DoF, Dominguez, healthcare bill, Senate report, senators, Tax, tobacco tax, tobacco tax hike, UHC
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