Senate to prioritize cigarette tax hike before break


Posted at May 23 2019 12:13 PM

Senate to prioritize cigarette tax hike before break 1
A vendor sells cigarette packs with the new graphic health warnings, embossed with bold letters in the front, along with the old graphics, generally text overlaid on a yellow background, in Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Senate will prioritize the approval of a bill seeking higher taxes on tobacco in the remaining session days before it goes on break, a lawmaker said Thursday.

The Department of Finance is pushing for the measure to help fund universal health care. The Senate's version of the measure seeks to bring the tobacco tax to P60 per pack over 5 years, double the current P32.

Since the measure was certified as urgent, bicameral meetings between the Senate and the House can be scheduled on the weekend with the following weekdays dedicated to its approval, said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

The plenary debate for the bill will start next week, Majority Leader Sen. Miguel Zubiri earlier said.

-- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News