Sotto says 17th Congress to approve Tuesday tobacco tax hike bill
MANILA, Philippines — The 17th Congress will likely approve within the day the bill seeking to raise excise tax on tobacco products, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday.
“Definitely, within the day, siguradong pasado yun [tobacco tax bill],” Sotto said in an interview over dzMM when asked of the status of the bill.
The Senate approved on third and final reading the Senate Bill No. 2233 on Monday night. The 17th Congress has only one session left, which will be held on Tuesday afternoon.
READ: Senate OKs tobacco tax hike on 3rd and final reading
Meanwhile, Sotto said the House of Representatives has already committed to adopt the Senate’s version of the bill to expedite its approval.
“Kagabi, as we passed it on third reading, dahil certified urgent naman yan, ang pagkakaalam ko, naghihintay ang House kagabi at iaadopt nila,” Sotto said.
READ: House commits to adopt Senate tobacco tax hike bill — Sotto
The Senate President said he has yet to get feedback if the House did indeed adopt the Senate version.
However, should the lower chamber of Congress refuse to adopt the Senate version, Sotto said there is still a chance that the 17th Congress will ratify the said measure.
“Kung hindi, may pag-asa pa rin itong araw na ito na magratify sila, kung kailangan kaming may baguhin o kaya iaadopt na nila yung amin,” he said.
Once both chambers of Congress approve the measure and ratify it, the enrolled bill will then be transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.
The President earlier certified SB 2233 as an urgent measure.
He said in a letter to Senate President Sotto III that there is an “urgent need to further protect the right of the health of the people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.” (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
READ: Duterte certifies as urgent bill on higher tobacco excise tax
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