Dominguez lauds signing of new ‘sin’ tax measure

Published January 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that President Duterte’s signing of the law imposing higher “sin” taxes on alcohol, electronic cigarettes and vapes has demonstrated the Chief Executive’s decisive leadership.

Dominguez said President Duterte is really concerned about the health of Filipino people, while at the same time wanted to ensure that the strict enforcement of the law against unscrupulous traders is implemented.

On Wednesday night, President Duterte signed into law the 2019 sin tax reform act, but he line item vetoed a provision that would have prohibited authorities to conduct raids on alcohol and tobacco traders without the court order.

According to Dominguez, that particular provision of the law inserted by the House of Representatives was “not allowed” and “unlawful.”

For this reason, Dominguez immediately wrote a memorandum to the President following the bill’s ratification in Congress, asking the chief executive line item veto that particular provision.

“I want him to take out one line there. There is a line there that we cannot raid before a court order. I said it’s not allowed. It is unlawful now,” Dominguez said.

President Duterte heeded Dominguez’s warnings.

“His signature attests to his concern for the health of the Filipino people, while the line-item veto shows his strong resolve for strict enforcement of the law,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message.

Aside from its positive impact on public health, the finance chief also added that the new sin tax law will help augment the universal health care (UHC) program.

“This law will help improve health outcomes by reducing consumption of these harmful products, especially among the poor and the youth. It will also provide additional funding to help the UHC program succeed,” Dominguez said.

“We thank the Senate and the House of Representatives for their support to this priority reform program,” he added.

Meanwhile, health advocates from the Sin Tax Coalition welcomed President Duterte’s signing of the measure increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and vapor products.

“On behalf of the health advocates, we thank President Rodrigo Duterte for signing this important health measure into law,” the coalition’s co-convener Anthony Leachon said in a statement.

“It is a known fact that sin taxes are an effective tool in discouraging the consumption of harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco, and this latest tax increase will prove to be another step forward in protecting more Filipinos from the diseases caused by these products,” he added.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will implement the law with new tax rates on alcohol and e-cigarette effective January 1, 2020.

Leachon also thanked both Albay Representative Joey Salceda and Senator Pia Cayetano, who shepherded the passage of the measure as chairpersons of the Committee on Ways and Means in both Congress.

“Throughout this process, both Congressman Salceda and Senator Cayetano have proven themselves to be lawmakers who genuinely care about the health of the Filipino people,” said Leachon, who is also a medical doctor.

“As such, we would like to thank them for being the main proponents of this measure in the House and the Senate,” he added.

For alcoholic beverages, the excise tax on distilled spirits will be increased from ₱23.5 to ₱42 per proof liter with a 22 percent ad valorem tax beginning this year. The specific tax will then be raised to ₱47 in 2021, ₱52 in 2022, ₱59 in 2023, ₱66 in 2024, and by 6 percent every year thereafter.