By Gerry Baldo | The Daily Tribune
The bicameral conference committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives has decided to peg the target revenues for the controversial sin tax bill at P35 billion.
According to Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a member of the House contingent, both Houses have agreed to lower the target from the original target of P39.5 billion following the discussions at the Andaya Hall of the Lower House yesterday.
Garin said that based on their initial talks, 70 percent of the revenues would be culled from taxes on cigarettes while 30 percent would be sourced from taxes on alcohol.
The move does not sit well for Sen. Bongbong Marcos. Marcos who said the sin taxes were lopsided in favor of alcohol products and against the cigarette industry.
Marcos maintained that if the government would like to discourage smoking by increasing cigarette taxes, it should also increase the taxes on alcohol to discourage drunkenness.
“Thousands are going to lose their livelihood in the tobacco sector,” he said.
Under the House version the, P31 billion should be collected on the first year of its implementation with P26 billion from cigarette and P5 billion from alcohol taxes.
The Senate version was pegged at P39 billion of which 60 percent comes from cigarettes and 40 percent from alcohol.
Both House of Congress have also agreed to increase sin taxers every two years but Garin was not able to give details about that proposal.
The bicameral committee was still in a closed-door meeting as of press time.
The bicameral committee members are Senators Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Sergio Osmeña III, Franklin Drilon and Marcos and Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab, House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II, House minority leader Danilo Suarez, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella, Camarines Sur Rep.Luis Villafuerte, Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong and Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson Jr.