Marcos amendments stall sin tax vote

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2012 08:18 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2012 04:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate inched closer to approving the bill re-indexing taxes on tobacco and alcohol following the approval of amendments senators want included in the bill.

However, this was stalled by moves of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., both of whom hail from tobacco-producing provinces, over differences in burden sharing and the schedule of implementation.

The amendments and likely vote were stalled by Marcos’ amendments, which included the further staggering of the already staggered implementation of the tax for tobacco.

Senator Franklin Drilon, sponsor of the measure, started a line-by-line amendment of the measure.

The Senate bill staggers the imposition of a P32 unitary tax rate on cigarettes starting next year with the full imposition by January 1, 2017.

Hand-packed cigarettes  will be imposed a 12-peso tax by January 1, 2013, going up to 18 pesos by January 1, 2014, 25 pesos by January 1, 2015, still at 25 pesos by January 1, 2016 and 32  pesos by January 1, 2017.

The staggered imposition of taxes on machine-packed cigarettes will be applied differentially depending on the price tier of cigarettes.

Low-end, machine-packed cigarettes (with current excise taxes less than P7.56) will start with a 12-peso tax by January 2013, going up to 18 pesos in 2014, 25 pesos in 2015 and 2016 and 32 pesos by 2017.

Mid-priced, machine-packed cigarettes (with current excise taxes between 7.56 to 12) will start at 16 in 2013, up to 22 in 2014, 30 by 2015 and 2016 and 32 by 2017.

High-end machine-packed cigarettes  (with excise tax over P12) will start at 20 by 2013, 28 by 2014, 30 by 2015 and 2016 and 32 by 2017.

Distilled spirits, meantime, will be levied 20 pesos per- proof liter, plus 15% of the net retail price by January 2013. By 2015, this will go up to 20 pesos per-proof plus 20% of net retail price.

Sparkling wines worth less than 500 pesos per 750 ml will be levied 250 pesos while those over 500 pesos will be levied 700 pesos.

Still wines and carbonated wines may be levied either 30 pesos or 60 pesos depending on the percentage of alcohol.

Fermented liquor worth less than 22 pesos per liter will be imposed a 20-peso tax per liter

Fermented liquor worth over 22 pesos per liter will be imposed a 25-peso tax  per liter.

The taxes will be shared by the tobacco and alcohol industries, 60% to 40%.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile protested the burden sharing between the 2 industries which, based on his computations, leans in favor of the alcohol industry in succeeding years.

Government projects revenues of about P40 billion from the sin tax, which it will use to expand PhilHealth coverage and other health-related projects of the government. It will also earmark 15% of earnings from locally made Virginia tobacco products for beneficiary provinces.

The bill will, meantime, also require local manufacturers to source 15% of the requirements from local tobacco farmers.