MANILA, Aug. 11— Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Friday said he is willing to remove the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages under one condition — that the proposed increase in oil excise tax will be passed in full.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said Dominguez earlier told senators that he was amenable to dropping sugar-sweetened beverages taxes in exchange for the full passage of increases in oil excise tax.
“Well may statement lang po si Secretary Dominguez na pahapyaw na sinabi, oh sige I’ll make a deal kung papayag kayo tanggalin na natin yung sugar sweet tax pero taasan niyo yung petroleum tax in full,” Angara said in a radio interview.
(“Secretary Dominguez has a statement where he said in passing, ‘okay, I’ll make a deal if you agree that we’ll remove sugar sweetened tax but pass the increase in petroleum tax in full.’”)
The DOF is pushing for a PHP6 per liter increase in oil excise tax.
Saying this increase is “too high”, the House of Representatives (HOR) instead passed a measure proposing a 3, 2, 1 scheme or PHP3 per liter in the first year, PHP2 in the second year and PHP1 in the third.
Angara, however, said the Senate is still in the process of reviewing the proposal noting that the increase is still too high.
“…Sabi nila pag-aaralan pa ho nila at wala pa naman kasunduan diyan so hinihantay po natin kung ano talaga yung labas nito (They said that they’ll have to review it and nothing has been agreed on yet so we are waiting for the results),” Angara said.
“Kausap ko din yung ibang miyembro ng komite, and pananaw nila medyo mataas pa rin po yung 3, 2, 1. Ngayon ang iniisip namin baka gawing 1, 2, 3 or 2, 2, 2 para magaan naman po at hindi masyado mabigla po yung ating mga consumers, mga transport groups at kaya pong pagplanuhan yung pagtaas,” Angara said.
(“I have spoken to other members of the committee and they think that 3, 2, 1 is still too high. What we’re thinking is maybe a 1, 2, 3 or 2, 2, 2 scheme is lighter and won’t shock our consumers, transport groups. They can anticipate for this increase.”)
The senator, however, expressed hope that the Senate would arrive at a final consensus and come up with a committee report by September.
The tax-reform package seeks to lower personal income tax rates, expand the value-added tax (VAT) base, raise excise taxes on petroleum and automobiles, impose an excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages and ease the rates of estate and donor’s taxes.