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I,EADTNG NDWSPAPDN

Bitl on increased taxes


on alcohol, cigarettes
gets House support
Both the Senate and the Lower
House have only five more days before
. House of Representatives Speaker they go on a six-week adjournment.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has assured The Lower House tax rate increase
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto that is F30 per paclg and this will increase
her legislative chamberwould support in the next three years to F4S.
lvhatever is the Senate decision on There are three proposals in the
trow. much excise tax to be imposed Senate: P60 per pack by Senator Em_
on cigarettes and alcohol. for a bigger manuel D. Pacquaio: FZo per pack by
tevenue to finance the multi-billion_ Catchatian. and p9O perpack by Sena-
peso Universal Health Care (UHC.) tor Joseph Victor Ejercito.
program. Chua said the revenue to be col-
. This was revealed yesterday by lected by the House bill is pi 1 billion for
I(arl Kendrick Chua, Department of the first year which is ..too low" vis a vis
Finance (DOn Undersecretary during the projected UHC expenditures.
a radio interview. Chua said the ,.sin tax,, rleasure
.
_ Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, needs p26? billion for the frrst year and
ehairman of the Senate economic the government has at piesent pt95
affairs committee, was scheduled to billion What is needed is F62 billion
sponsor late yesterday a bil seeking more, he added.
to increase taxes from alcohol and And the DOF supports the pac-
'cigarettes in a bid to reduce cigaretle quaio formula, he added.
smoking and alcohol drinkins- - The UHC was a major legislation
' Reactingio the House Sieaker's authored by Ejercito.
oftbr in a letter to Sotto in a bid ro ac_ Chua said hi learned that six of the
celerate congressional approval of the 10 members of the Senate ways and
"sin" tax measure. Galchalian said means committee chaired by Sena-
l'this is good" because the proposed tor Juan Edgardo Angara have so far
fate ofexcise tax is much lower at the signed the committee report on the
House of Representatives, bill than at sin tax bill.
the Senale's. '- At present financial benefits from
Lawmakers expect president Du_ PhilHealth are sma[, Chua said.
terte to certify the ,,sin tax,, measure But a well-funded UHC would
to avoid a two-day printing rule after increase the free or reduced pur_
lts passage on second reading, chase price of l8 medicines to 120
A certified bill, if approved on medicines coveriirg seven diseases,
second reading. is immediatelv voted he explained-
on third and frnal reading. This does Gatchalian said passage of the sin
aw.ay. with the reglamentary two_day tax bill would be like hitting two birds
printing rule. with one stone:increased revenue and
Gatchalian said Congress would reduce cigarette smoking.
go back to ,,zero" if they do iiot pass
He said that government spends
the bill before they adiourn sine die P2l0 annually million for cigarette
on June 7. smoking-related djseases.
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