MANILA - Senator Loren Legarda on Monday defended lawmakers' decision to impose an excise duty on coal under a tax reform bill that President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign into law this week.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate finance committee however said she "did not feel comfortable" with keeping local coal exempted from value added tax, despite the P50 per metric ton excise tax.
The bicameral conference committee, which reconciled the Senate and House versions of tax reform, also imposed excise taxes of P2.50 per liter of diesel and P1 per kilo of liquefied petroleum gas, she said.
"Bubuwisan mo ang lahat—gasolina, kerosene, gasul. Pero ang coal ayaw mong buwisan? Bakit? Kailangan pantay-pantay," Legarda told ANC's Headstart.
(You will tax gasoline, kerosene, cooking gas, but you refuse to tax coal? Why? It should be equal.)
"Why incentivize something that’s equally dirty or even dirtier?" she said. Natural gas, which is cleaner than coal, is taxed up to 43 percent, she said.
Semirara Mining and Power Corp., the country's largest coal producer, said it was unfazed by the decision of the bicameral conference committee to increase excise taxes on coal.
"Semirara is not against excise tax. It has no negative impact on our earnings. Pass thru,” DMCI chief executive officer Isidro Consunji earlier said.