MANILA – The Senate on Monday approved on the third and final reading the measure which increases the excise tax on cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes.
In a 20-0 voting, the upper chamber approved Senate Bill 2233, which proposes P45 to P60 increase per pack in excise tax beginning next year to 2023 and then 5% yearly hike effective Jan. 1, 2024.
The scheduled increase will be as follows: P45 per pack increase effective Jan. 1, 2020 until Dec. 31, 2020, P50 in Jan. 2021, P55 per pack in Jan. 2022 and P60 per pack effective Jan. 1, 2023.
The approved bill sought stiffer penalties for the illicit tobacco trade, to earmark incremental tobacco excise tax for programs aimed at fighting smuggling and other illicit trade, and to set up human resource development programs for health professionals.
“The measure aims to reduce smoking prevalence among Filipinos as well as raise funding for the government’s Universal Health Care program,” said Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara as the bill sponsor.
Following the measure’s approval at the Senate, they will transmit the measure to the House of Representatives for review as the latter committed to adopt the Senate version, allowing the 17th Congress to forego a bicameral conference committee.
The Department of Finance welcomed the Senate’s passage of the bill saying the measure will help fill-in the P40-billion funding gap for the implementation of the Universal Health Care law. /PN