Sintax Bill

Topics: Pi Gamma Mu, Juan Ponce Enrile, Proposals Pages: 2 (519 words) Published: March 5, 2013
MANILA — Senate floor debates on the controversial measure imposing higher taxes on cigarette and alcoholic products will begin this week so that projected proceeds will be factored in the proposed P2-trillion national budget for next year. In separate interviews, Senators Edgardo Angara and Franklin Drilon said there is a need to pass the sin tax bill as soon as possible to address the P24-billion financial gap on the health sector. The Department of Health has been allocated with P54 billion for 2013 but Drilon said the agency requires P77.4 billion for it to enrol 5.2 million families more in PhilHealth, construct/repair regional and provincial hospitals and fund immunization programs. “So, if we don’t get additional budget under the sin tax, we would not be able to address the budget gap and we should not be able to deliver the services that the government should deliver,” Drilon told reporters late Monday. During the deliberations, amendments will be introduced to Committee Report 411 introduced by Senator Ralph Recto, who resigned last month as ways and means committee chairperson after drawing criticism for eyeing only P15 billion in initial collections. “We will be endorsing a committee report that proposes an increase on both cigarettes and liquors; but on the rates, we will propose amendments. In the same manner that the original report recognized the fact that there will be amendments. In fact, Senator Recto, in his speech, said that,” Drilon said. The Department of Finance earlier lowered its proposal to P40 billion worth of revenues for the first year of implementation from the original P60 billion following a meeting with senators in October. At the very least, Drilon said it will not just be P24 billion because tobacco farmers are also entitled to 15 percent of the increment under the law. For his part, Angara sees the P30 billion-P40 billion as the “sweet spot.” “That is my calculation of what could be acceptable. There is a level where we can...
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