MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday a bill raising taxes on alcoholic drinks and select tobacco products.
House Bill 1026, which slaps higher taxes on liquors, wines, beers, heated tobacco and vape products, was approved with 184 lawmakers voting yes, 2 voting no with 1 abstention.
Under the bill, distilled spirits such as brandy, gin and rum will be slapped a 22-percent ad valorem tax and a P30 specific tax per proof liter starting this year.
The specific tax will be hiked by P5 each succeeding year until it reaches P45 in 2022, after which the hike will be 7 percent each year.
Beers and "alcopop" products, meanwhile, will have a specific tax of P28 per liter this year, P32 next year, P34 in Jan. 2021, and P36 in Jan. 2022. This will be hiked by 7 percent each year starting in 2023.
Sparkling wines will be slapped a 15-percent ad valorem tax, and a specific tax of P650 per liter. The specific tax will be hiked by 7 percent each year, starting in Jan. 2020.
Still wines and carbonated wines, meanwhile, will be slapped a 15-percent ad valorem tax and a P60 per liter specific tax, which will be hiked 7 percent each year.
Heated tobacco products will be taxed P45 per pack of 20 units effective Jan. 2020. This will go up to P50 by Jan. 2021, P55 by Jan. 2022 and P60 by Jan. 2023. The tax rate will be increased by 5 percent every year thereafter.
Vape products will be taxed by each cartridge, refill pod or container with liquids or gels.
Nicotine salt will be taxed P35 per milliliter starting next year, which will be increased by P5 very year until 2023. The tax will be hiked by 5 percent every year thereafter.
Conventional freebase or classic nicotine will be taxed P4.50 per milliliter starting next year. The tax will increase by P0.50 every year until 2023. The tax will also be hiked by 5 percent every year starting Jan. 2024.
Both chambers of Congress have to pass the bill for the President's approval to be enacted.
The finance department has said that revenues from the new taxes will be used to fund the Universal Health Care law. - Report from RG Cruz and Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News.