House OKs on final reading bill imposing tax on single-use plastic bags | Inquirer News
Despite Makabayan solons' negative votes

House OKs on final reading bill imposing tax on single-use plastic bags

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 08:28 PM November 14, 2022

The House of Representatives on Monday passed in its third and final reading the proposed measure seeking to impose excise tax for single-use plastic bags despite getting negative votes from lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc. 

Representatives Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), France Castro (ACT Teachers), and Raoul Manuel during the State of the Nation Address. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Monday passed on third and final reading the proposed measure seeking to impose an excise tax for single-use plastic bags despite getting negative votes from lawmakers in the Makabayan bloc.

A total of 255 lawmakers approved House Bill (HB) No. 4102 or the Plastic Bags Tax Act, which proposes amendments and an additional section to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 in a bid to slap at least a P100 excise tax for every kilogram of single-use plastic bags removed from the place of production or the custody of the Bureau of Customs.


There were three negative votes and no abstentions.


Under the measure, the imposed tax on single-use plastic bags is set to increase by four percent every year starting on January 1, 2026.

But securing the lower chamber’s approval in the bill’s final reading was not as smooth sailing with opposing votes from Makabayan lawmakers – Rep. Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela partylist, Rep. France Castro of the ACT Teachers partylist, and Rep. Raoul Manuel of the Kabataan partylist.

A big burden for small businesses

The Makabayan lawmakers argued that the imposed tax will only hurt small-scale sellers and consumers, pushing them further into the wall.

“While we want to regulate the use of plastic bags for environmental concerns such as reducing pollution, this proposed measure will just be an additional burden to consumers, sellers, and retailers,” Brosas explained.

She then lamented: “Bugbog na nga ang taumbayan sa samu’t-saring buwis na ipinapataw ng gobyerno, dadagdagan pa [The Filipino people are also taking the punch for various taxes imposed by the government and yet we’re adding more].”

Brosas asserted that “these taxes should be paid by big companies rather than small retailers, who already make a small profit.”


To address environmental problems caused by the use of single-use plastic bags, she said “we should have an accessible and affordable alternative for consumers, as well as impose stringent regulations for big companies.”

Castro and Manuel echoed this sentiment as they likewise decried passing the environmental responsibility and financial burden to small businesses like sari-sari stores and carinderias (neighborhood convenience stores and restaurants) instead of going after big companies.

Castro said consumers often have no control over the packaging of the goods and products they purchase since that decision lies in the hands of manufacturers and sellers.

She further noted that this would adversely affect consumers even if they were treading a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

“Magiging dagdag ito sa presyo ng kanyang mga bilihin dahil ito ay isang specific excise tax, gaya ng idinudulot ng iba pang indirect or consumption taxes sa iba pang mga produkto na kasalukuyan nang nagpapabigat sa buhay ng mga mamamayan,” the teachers’ representative said.

(Like the effects of other indirect or consumption taxes on products currently burdening the lives of the Filipino people, this specific excise tax will cause an increase in the cost of basic commodities.)

Citing the surging inflation rate in the country, Castro asked: “Bakit pa natin dadagdagan ang value added tax, excise tax at iba pang consumption taxes sa mga batayang bilihin at serbisyo?”

(Why would we add value-added tax, excise tax and other consumption taxes on basic goods and services?)

She reiterated that the responsibility of solid waste management and pollution prevention should be carried not by consumers, but by those who use, produce and distribute a greater volume of harmful solid wastes.

“Naniniwala kaming kung tunay na nais nating maglagay ng deterrent sa paggamit ng single-use plastics, dapat ay magtakda ng mas epektibo, komprehensibo, at makamasang solusyon katulad ng pagpataw ng direct taxes na hindi maipapasa sa mga mamamayan,” Castro said.

(We believe that if we truly want to deter the use of single-use plastics, we should establish an effective, comprehensive, and pro-masses solution like imposing direct taxes that would not pass the burden to the Filipinos.)

A ‘no’ vote with a call to action

Manuel joined Castro and Brosas’ call to seek more accessible and affordable single-use plastics.

“Pangunahin para sa atin ang pag-regulate ng produksyon ng single-use plastics mula sa malalaking kumpanya at pagtutulungan para sa pinakamabilis na panahon ay makalikha ng alternatibo na madali ring makuha at magamit,” he said.

(The first thing we need to do is regulate the production of single-use plastics in big companies and come together to help hasten the creation of an accessible and easy-to-use alternative to plastic.)

This, Manuel noted, should be simultaneously done while facilitating the gradual reduction in the use of plastic across factories and major establishments to smaller businesses and stores, and even in Filipino households.

“Kaakibat din ito sa angkop na edukasyon sa mga mamamayan kung bakit natin dapat tugunan ang problema ng plastic waste sa ating bansa at ang problema ng climate change,” the youth representative added.

(Educating the people about how to address the problems of climate change and plastic waste in the country should also be properly taught to Filipino communities.)

Manuel, who slammed other tax measures under the Marcos administration, then pointed out that the Philippines is still among the countries most vulnerable to the grave effects of climate change.

“Pare-pareho nating nakikita ang pangangailangan na magkaroon ng mga hakbang para mabawasan ang paggamit ng plastic. Ngunit kasabay ng pangangalaga sa ating kapaligiran ay pangangalaga rin sa ating taumbayan ((We all see the dire need to enact steps that will reduce our use of plastic but taking care of the environment should likewise come with caring for the people),” he said.

Manuel further stressed: “We believe that protecting the environment and promoting a pro-people economy can go hand-in-hand.”

He also noted that when the consequences of climate change and rising inflation rates are already burdening the country, “the purchasing power of ordinary citizens must not be further eroded.”

“We must consider, as our top priority, the measures and actions that will uplift the economic condition of our hardworking people,” Manuel added.

To achieve this, he called to remove value-added tax and excise tax for fuel, electricity, and water.

“To generate sufficient revenue for the national government, sources of revenue that are not shouldered by the majority of the ordinary citizens that must be explored,” Manuel said.

He then pushed to instead impose direct income tax to big, foreign businesses, and slap wealth tax on billionaires in the country.

“We must reverse the trend in the past years wherein the rate of consumption taxes is going up while the rate of corporate taxes is going down,” Manuel said.

Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved the proposed Plastic Bags Tax Act, which is a consolidated version of HBs No. 220 and 1811 introduced by Reps. Joey Salceda of the 2nd District of Albay, Mikaela Suansing of the 1st District of Nueva Ecija, and Horacio Suansing of the 2nd District of Sultan Kudarat.


House OKs bill imposing P20-per-kg tax on single-use plastics 

‘Sooner than later:’ DOF eyes tax on single-use plastics, online purchases 

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Excise tax on plastic bags to hurt ‘sari-sari’ stores, says group 

TAGS: House of Representatives

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