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House panel OKs higher tax on sugar-sweetened drinks

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A panel of the House of Representatives has approved a bill seeking to impose a P10 excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages per liter of volume capacity to promote a healthier population and provide additional revenues of about P34.5 billion annually for the government.

The committee on ways and means approved the unnumbered substitute bill to House Bill 3365 of Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing after more than a year of hearings and meetings.

“We had four committee deliberations, four small technical working group meetings, two main TWG meetings, and one roundtable discussion. It is a much needed revenue measure that will cover and improve our social and health services,” she said.

Studies have shown that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of developing health problems like blood sugar disorders, obesity, diabetes and other related diseases such as bone fractures, hyperacidity, tooth decay and heart problems, Suansing said.

It is a health bill more than anything else, committee on ways and means chairman Romero Quimbo said.

“We’ve come to determine that many of the diseases or non-communicable diseases emanate from the consumption of this readily acceptable commodity, especially by our children, so the proceeds will serve not only as additional revenue for the government but more importantly to develop really a healthier population,” the Marikina congressman said.

This can be done through creating sources of potable water in school and in communities, and raising the educational awareness of the population in terms of healthier lifestyle as well as eating right, he added.

Based on Philippine Health Insurance claims, the government spent P50 billion for diabetes-related diseases from 2009 to 2012, Department of Health media officer Carmela Granada said in response to query of AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin.

Reps. Raneo Abu of Batangas and Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol made amendments to the bill, particularly on percentage distribution of the health promotion fund from the excise tax collection on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The bill seeks to insert Section 150-A in the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

Section 150-A titled Sugar-Sweetened Beverages provides there shall be levied, assessed and collected on sugar-sweetened beverages per liter of volume capacity, an excise tax of P10. The rate of tax imposed under this section shall be increased by four percent every year thereafter effective on Jan. 1, 2017 through Revenue Regulations issued by the Secretary of Finance.

CARMELA GRANADA

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

ESTRELLITA SUANSING

HOUSE BILL

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE

NUEVA ECIJA REP

PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE

RANEO ABU OF BATANGAS AND RODEL BATOCABE OF AKO BICOL

REVENUE REGULATIONS

ROMERO QUIMBO

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