Diokno wants single-use plastic tax

Published July 7, 2022, 2:47 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) would support the imposition of a tax on single-use plastic packaging to combat pollution.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that a single-use plastic packaging tax is “worth considering” by the Marcos administration to help address the challenges of the worsening climate crisis.

“I think, we on our part, on the tax side, I think we should think of some measures that we can do to reduce pollution, for example, as tax on single-use plastic,” Diokno said in a recent interview with ANC.

Currently, the United Kingdom and Ireland impose levies on single-use plastic bags.

But despite the increasing public awareness of the issue of plastics pollution in the Philippines, there is no pending bill in Congress seeking to impose such tax on single-use packaging. However, there was a proposed measure that sought the ban of single-use of plastics.

The Duterte administration had backed in Congress the passage of the bill banning single-use plastics as well as supported initiatives to replace it with new environment-friendly materials.

In addition, several local government units have also issued their own ordinances to ban or regulate plastics.

In a study by Ocean Conservancy in 2015, the Philippines produced 2.7 million metric tons of plastic wastes—more than half a million metric tons of which were leaked to the ocean.

The Waste Assessment Brand Audit 2019 report of the Global Alliance for Incinerators Alternatives (GAIA) also showed that the country produced daily 164 million pieces of sachets, 48 million shopping bags, 45.2 million pieces of “labo” bags.

Aside from single-use plastics, Diokno also wants to impose a tax levied on the carbon emissions “if feasible.”

In March 2021, former Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Philippines was not yet ready to impose carbon tax as a move to reduce carbon dioxide emission particularly in the power sector.

Cusi explained that a carbon tax will only make the country’s power sector more uncompetitive as it continues to build its capacity to meet power demand and ensure sufficient reserve.

Instead of imposing a carbon tax, the energy chief said the country should exploring nuclear as a new energy source.

The government would also like to see more investors to locate in the Philippines, especially those advocating renewable energy, Cusi said.