RH bill debates push back sin tax bill OK

Posted at 11/19/2012 9:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The sin tax bill will have to wait for final Senate approval Tuesday.

The upper House deferred the approval of Senate Bill 3299 after it spent most of Monday's session in a long and detailed discussion on the amendments of Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile and Ralph Recto on the reproductive health (RH) bill.

The Senate started discussions on the sin tax bill only shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, with Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto giving way to Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Franklin Drilon.

Drilon opened his defense of the sin tax bill by citing the measure's P40-billion revenue projection.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos, however, asked the Senate to be more practical in setting its revenue target.

Under Drilon's version of the sin tax measure, higher tax collections are projected from tobacco products while distilled spirits and fermented beverages will have lower levies.

Marcos said tobacco farmers will be affected by the proposal.

In the lower House's version of the bill, some P31 billion is expected to be generated annually from sin taxes. Around P27 billion will be sourced from tobacco and just around P4 billion will come from liquor.

Senators later had a consensus Monday night and adopted on first reading that the sin tax bill's revenue target will be pegged at P40 billion annually.

The proposed legislation's period of individual amendments and approval on 2nd and third reading will resume Tuesday afternoon. - report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News