Bicam panel approves higher sin taxes on liquor, vaping

A BICAMERAL conference committee on Wednesday, December 18, approved the measure seeking to increase the excise taxes on alcohol products, heated tobacco and vaping products.

The panel gave its approval two days after the Senate approved its version, Senate Bill No. 1074, on Monday night, December 16, 2019, with 20 affirmative votes.

The House of Representatives passed its version on August 20, 2019. It was the first bill approved by the House under the 18th Congress.

The measure seeks to implement one of the remaining packages of the Duterte administration's Comprehensive Tax Reform program (CTRP). Proceeds from its implementation will be used to finance the government universal health program.

The bill seeks to raise the excise tax, also called sin tax, on beer, spirits and wines. It was expanded to include e-cigarettes such as heated tobacco and vapor (vaping) products. E-cigarettes were taxed under Republic Act 11346, which increased the taxes on tobacco products.

Senators also included a provision restricting the selling of vaping products to those 21 years old and below.

The approval came less than a month after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the immediate enactment of the measure, citing the urgent need to generate additional revenues to finance Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act which he signed into law last February 20, 2019. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)