MANILA, Philippines – They did meet halfway, for incremental revenues at least.
The bicameral conference committee on the sin tax reform bill agreed Thursday, December 6, to place target revenues for 2013 at P33.96-B, said Sen Franklin Drilon, head of the Senate contingent.
“We have settled the most critical portion of the sin tax bill and that is rate of increase of the sin taxes,” Drilon said.
The House of Representatives’ original version of the bill projected to generate revenues of between P31-B to P33-B. The Senate version calculated revenues of at least P39.5-B. Both figures are lower than the government’s original base revenue of P60-B.
Thursday’s bicam session ironed out provisions on target revenues, tax rates and burden sharing, Drilon said, and the only contentious provision left to discuss on Monday when the bicam meets again is the rate of earmarking for services such as the government’s universal healthcare program.
Cigarettes will have a unitary tax rate after 2017, according to Drilon.
For cigarettes with a net retail price of less than 11.50, tax rate increases are as follows:
2013 – P12
2014 – P17
2015 – P21
2016 – P25
2017 – P30
For cigarettes with a net netail price of 11.50 or more, the tax per pack are as follows:
2013 – P25
2014 – P27
2015 – P28
2016 – P29
2017 – P30
For fermented liquor with a net retail price of less than P50.60, tax rates are as follows:
2013 – P15
2014 – P17
2015 – P19
2016 – P21
2017 – P23.50
For fermented liquor worth P50.60 or more:
2013 – P20
2014 – P21
2015 – P22
2016 – P23
2017 – P23.5
For distilled spirits:
2013 – P20 + 15%
2014 – P20 + 15%
2015 – P20 + 20%
2016 – P21.80 + 20%
2017 – P21.60 + 20%
Deliberations on burden-sharing between tobacco and alcohol was the most debated part of the hearing, Drilon said. The meeting lasted about 6 hours.
Camarines Sur Rep Villafuerte said the bicam had already agreed on House’s 70-30 figure but it was met with resistance by some members who were pushing for Senate’s 60-40 rate.
Session was suspended so that the technical working groups of Senators opposing a 70-30 burden sharing rate could prepare calculations, Sen Fedinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said.
“Historically, kung masusunod ang gusto nila, sa ngayon, walang bumibili sa ganong presyo. Kung walang bumibili sa ganong presyo, wala silang makokolekta,” he said. “I don’t agree at all but they don’t care,” Marcos added.
Marcos said that if the sin tax bill was truly a health measure, tax rates for alcohol should not be decreased because alcohol consumption also posed health risks.
On Wednesday, the bicam agreed to remove the sunset provision on the sin tax bill.
Both Houses of Congress also agreed to impose a 4% tax rate increase every two years. The Senate bill proposes a 5% increase in tax rates every year starting 2014 for alcohol, and 2018 for cigarettes. The House version, on the other hand, proposes an 8% increase every two years from 2015 until only 2025.
The House contingent of the bicam are: Davao City Rep Isidro Ungab, House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II, House minority leader Danilo Suarez, Iloilo Rep Janette Garin, Batanes Rep Henedina Abad, Camarines Sur 4th district Rep Arnulfo Fuentebella, Camarines Sur 3rd district Rep Luis Villafuerte, Negros Oriental RepJocelyn Limkaichong and Ilocos Sur Rep Eric Singson Jr.
Representing the Senate are Senators Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Sergio Osmena III, Franklin Drilon, Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Ralph Recto. – Rappler.com