MANILA, Philippines - Senator Franklin Drilon says he's confident the bill that increases the tax on cigarettes and alcohol will be passed by the Senate on third and final reading on Monday.
Drilon, acting chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, says senators are set to reconcile proposed revisions to his sin tax version that targets to collect as much as P46 billion in annual revenue.
"We are confident that we will finish the individual amendments on Monday and in view of the certification we can immediately vote on it on the 3rd reading," he said on ANC's News Now.
Drilon says the revenue target should stay.
"The amendments I have seen would pertain to the manner on the use of the substantial P6 billion that will go to the farmers which will increase over the years," he said.
The so-called sin tax bill was certified by President Aquino as urgent.
Drilon said his version, which was a substitute to Senator Ralph Recto's bill, is close to what the Lower House wanted.
"In so far as cigarette excise tax is concerned, the rates between the Senate and the House version are not very far. The rates are almost the same, in fact the revunues to be generated is about P26.8 billion, the House is about P26 billion so it is not that substantially different," he said.
"The substantial difference is the liquor excise the tax where House will propose P3.5-P4 billion, we are proposing something like P14-P19 billion. That is where the major difference lies. But we have to do it because the liquor side, in distilled spirits, we have to comply with the WTO decision which found our present rates discriminatory," Drilon added. - ANC