Youth Groups Urge Congress to Pass Sin Tax Bill to Fund Health Care
Several youth groups are currently pushing for Congress to pass Senate Bill (SB) No. 1074 into law, a bill that seeks to raise excise taxes on alcohol, heated tobacco products, vapes, and e-cigarettes.
The youth groups of National Federation of Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (NFJPIA), Youth for Sin Tax (YST), Junior Philippine Economics Society (JPES), and Youth Alliance for Health Reform (YAHR) urged lawmakers to pass SB 1074 to fund the Universal Health Care (UHC) program.
The Department of Finance (DOF) estimated the bill to generate P47.9 billion for the UHC program next year, and a total of P356.9 billion for the program over the next five years.
Authored by Senator Pia Cayetano, the bill seeks to increase taxes on alcohol products through the following rate adjustments:
(a) distilled spirits will be imposed an ad valorem tax of 20% on the net retail price per proof and a specific tax of P90 per proof liter on the first year of implementation, increasing by P10 every year until the fourth year;
(b) fermented liquor (beer) and alcopops will be slapped a specific tax rate of P45 per liter on the first year of implementation, increasing by P10 every year until the fourth year;
(c) wine products will be imposed a specific tax of P600 per liter of sparkling wines and P43 per liter for still and carbonated wines;
(d) the current rates for e-cigarettes under the heat-not-burn product category will increase from P10 per pack of 20 to P45 per pack on the first year of implementation; and
(e) for vapor products, there will be a distinction between salt nicotine and freebase; from P10 per 10mL or less, salt nicotine will increase to P45 per mL, while freebase will increase to P45 per 10mL on the first year of implementation, increasing by P5 every year until the fourth year then 5% every year thereafter.
In a news conference after a recent forum at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), YST defined sin taxes “the single most effective way of significantly reducing consumption of sin products among the youth who are sensitive to price increases.”
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III acknowledged the youth groups for their support for the tax reform in a speech at the close of the Sulong workshop on Tuesday, December 10.
“You, the young Filipinos, are the direct beneficiaries of the sustained growth we seek to achieve through the reforms we now undertake. The future belongs to you. You have the greatest stake in our economy’s success. It will shape your career paths and the quality of your lives. Your voices must be heard,” Dominguez said.
The bill is now in the plenary interpellation period and has been certified as an urgent bill by President Duterte.