MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino expressed confidence the sin tax bill will be passed by Congress before the May 2013 elections.
Aquino says reelectionist senators have no reason to fear a public backlash if they support the sin tax measue.
"How can anybody say they are opposed to an effective sin tax measure? Do we need a Plan B? I'm really confident it will pass. We have stated to our allies in the senate how important this measure is," he said.
Aquino also claims the country's tax collection efficiency has improved by 2% under his watch.
Meanwhile, Senator Franklin Drilon maintains a possible revised version of the sin tax bill cannot be dictated by the Palace.
Drilon, now acting chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, says the committee report withdrawn by Senator Ralph Recto will still be debated upon to check if any revisions should be made.
Drilon adds the committee report is a collective decision of the members of the committee and not just Recto.
The Senate's sin tax bill aims to generate only P20 billion in revenues on the first year of implementation, which is far from the Palace's target of P60 billion.
"We will come up with a level where the tax rate will be an effective tool against the continuous rise of smoking incidence in the country," he said. -ANC