House panel to tackle junk food tax soon

If you love your potato chips then pay close attention to congressmen starting next month.


The House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda will start deliberations on proposed junk food taxes this 2023.

“We will begin briefings on junk food taxes, and whether the DOH (Department of Health), FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), and DOF (Department of Finance) can implement such taxes," Salceda said in a statement.

"I want to know what the challenges to implementation will be before we discuss what rates of taxation should apply," noted the economist-solon.

The junk food tax is reportedly part of the DOH's proposal for higher taxes on "products".

Earlier in the 19th Congress, Salceda bared that he was "not inclined" toward a junk food tax.

"Defining what junk food is will definitely be a challenge...We will still study taxes on junk food, but we lean towards regulation rather than taxation," he said.

Asked for a clarification on his stance on junk food taxation, the Bicolano said: "We are studying taxes on the excessively sugary or salty food as part of a whole package of health measures to reduce the incidence of lifestyle diseases."

"The whole question to me is what is the best instrument to reduce non-communicable diseases. In some countries like Mexico, taxation worked very well as an instrument. In others, like Singapore, product regulation worked better," he noted.

"So, we are studying what works best. I do not intend to rush it with this one, but we will definitely begin formal stakeholder meetings on this in January," he added.

The House is currently on a five-week holiday recess. The solons won't convene again until Jan. 23, 2023.