Senate to open plenary debate on tobacco sin tax on Monday

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 07:25 PM | Updated as of May 23 2019 12:21 PM

MANILA - The plenary debate for proposed increases on the sin tax on cigarettes will start on May 27, a Senate official said Wednesday.

Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri disclosed this after holding a closed-door meeting this afternoon with Finance officials led by Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

"We discussed only sin taxes particularly tobacco tax. The Secretary [Dominguez] reiterated the need for additional funding for our new Universal Health Care measure as we have a large budget deficit for that program," Zubiri said.

"We, the senators all agreed to do our best to pass this before the break. Sponsorship will start on Monday," he added.

Other senators, however, had doubts the measure could be passed before the Senate adjourns a week from now. 

Earlier today, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chairman, Sonny Angara, said there may not be enough time to pass the sin tax bill under the 17th Congress.

"It's possible but a little difficult given the time constraint," Angara told reporters

Senate President Vicente Sotto III in a message to reporters also doubted the measure could be passed before the Senate goes on a break.

"Best effort. SOF [Secretary of Finance] also promised to look into the bills that are being vetoed by the president," Sotto said.