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Latest News Philippines: SIN TAX LAW INKED – Journal.com.ph:
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III yesterday signed into law the sin tax reform measure, which he described as an early Christmas gift from legislators.
Republic Act 10351 (An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco) otherwise known as the Sin Tax Reform 2012 was signed in ceremonies in Malacañang.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by representatives from the Senate, Congress, Department of Health, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Transportation and Communications, other government agencies, health professionals, medical societies, patients’ groups, academe, and other health advocates from civil society.
The measure, set to take effect on New Year’s Day, is expected to generate P33.96 billion in additional revenue in the first year of its implementation.
Aquino thanked lawmakers for not giving in to opponents of the measure, including the tobacco lobby.
“Batid po natin ang matagal na pakikipagsapalaran ng maraming sektor para sa Sin Tax Reform. 1997 pa po nang unang ihain ang ganitong klaseng panukala sa Kongreso. Halos labing-anim na mahabang taon kung kailan pinagdebatehan, binusisi, at kung minsan, halos isinantabi ang isang panukalang batas na magliligtas sa buhay ng mga Pilipino,” he said.
“Maraming nag-isip na imposibleng maipasa ang Sin Tax Reform Bill: malakas ang kalaban; maingay, organisado, at malalim ang bulsa ng mga kumukontra.
“Pero gaya po ng paulit-ulit nating napatunayan: Walang imposible sa Pilipinong sumasagwan sa iisang direksyon, nasa tamang lugar ang puso, at handang manindigan para sa kanyang mga prinsipyo. Hangga’t nasa likod po natin ang ating mga boss, walang balakid na hindi natin madadaig.”
Aquino told tobacco farmers not to worry, pointing out that they will be given bigger livelihood support with the passage of the measure.
“Lilinawin ko rin lang po sa mga magsasakang nabulungan ng agam-agam ng ilang sektor na kontra sa batas na ito: Wala po kayong dapat ikabahala. Ang benepisyong natatanggap ninyo dati ay hindi maglalaho; ang totoo nga po — sa amin pong pakiwari — lalaki pa iyan, habang tumitibay naman ang suporta sa inyo ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng iba pang ayuda,” he said.
The President noted the measure is intended to promote fair competition in the tobacco industry by rationalizing excise tax rates.
Most of the revenues will go to the government’s health care programs.
The Sin Tax Reform Act 2012 is considered as the only tax reform on alcohol and tabacco products that favors both the government and the Filipino people.
Republic Act 10351 is a consolidation of House Bill 5727 as amended and Senate Bill 3299 as amended.
House Bill 5727 as amended was passed by the House of Representatives last June 6, 2012, while Senate Bill 3299 as amended was passed by the Senate last November 20, 2012.
The bicameral conference committee report reconciling the two bills was ratified by both Houses of Congress last December 11. The measure, a priority of the Aquino administration, was certified urgent by the President of the Philippines to ensure its speedy passage.
The enactment of the law is a victory in the government’s campaign to protect the people, especially the young and the poor, from the ill effects of smoking and excessive drinking, Malacañang said. The reform aims to reduce tobacco and alcohol consumption among the Filipinos that leads to better health outcomes.
The law aims to generate revenue to fund the Universal Health Care.
After deducting the allocations for assistance to tobacco farmers under existing laws R.A. 7171 and R.A. 8240, eighty percent (80%) of the remaining balance of the incremental revenue will be earmarked for the universal health care under the National Health Insurance Program and twenty percent will be allocated nationwide for medical assistance and health enhancement facilities program.
The law provides additional funding for tobacco farmers’ livelihood program.
The Sin Tax Reform law paves the way for the removal of the price/brand classification freeze. The proper tax classification of alcohol and tobacco products will be determined every two years.
With the crafting of the law, there will be a gradual shift to unitary taxation in order to simplify the current multi-tiered structure.
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