House doubles tax on HFCS – Albee

By Carla P. Gomez on Friday, June 2, 2017

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) yesterday said the Visayan bloc failed to reduce the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks using locally produced sugar from P10 per liter to P5, but they were able to double the amount on imported sweeteners in the House-approved comprehensive tax reform package .

Benitez, who along with the Visayan bloc congressmen, had lobbied for a P5 reduction,said it was not granted because the country's financial managers had a set amount to meet.

However, this will be offset by the inclusion of the provision in the tax reform package that raised the excise tax to P20 per liter on sweetened beverages using imported sweeteners, he said.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday told the DAILY STAR he will also push to double the tax on sugar substitutes in the Senate.

The P20 excise tax per liter for sweetened-beverages using High Fructose Corn Syrup and other imported sweeteners will at leasteven the playing field and will make local industry users buy locally produced sugar, Sugar Alliance of the Philippines spokesperson Emilio Yulo III said.

We remain thankful to our local legislators who tried their best to come up with a win-win solution toprotect the sugar industry, however, we also know it was a numbers game and with the President himself certifying the bill as urgent, we understand their quandary, he said.

The House voted 246 for and 9 against to pass House Bill 5636, also known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), Benitez said.

He said all the Negros Island Region congressmen voted for the passage of the bill except for Rep. ArnulfoTeves (Neg. Or., 3 rd District) who joined the Makabayan bloc in voting against it. Teves was opposed to the increase in additional tax on fuel, he said.

But Benitez said tax on fuel will be imposed in phases starting at P3 on the first year, P2 on the second and P1 on the third year that will hardly be felt.

He said the most attractive feature of the TRAIN is the lower tax rate for fixed income earners starting Jan. 1, 2018, that will benefit many wage earners.

Government will no longer impose taxes on personal income not over P250,000 and incremental tax will be imposed only on personal income over P250,000, he said.*CPG