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House Of Representatives Approves Alcohol, Cigar, Vape Tax Hike

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – The House of Representatives approved the bill imposing higher tax on alcoholic drinks, tobacco, and vape.

Image from: PhilStar

According to a report from Manila Bulletin, a substitute version of the House Bill 1026 includes supply on non-liquor and non-alcoholic drinks which was rumored to be smuggled in the bill.

Joey Sarte-Salceda, Albay Representative and chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said that he took responsibility of the substitute version of the bill but noted that the Rules Committee is the author of the said substitute measure.

Rufus Rodriguez, Cagayan de Oro Representative and a member of the House panel, denied that the Ways and Means Committee discussed any provision of tobacco products. Rodriguez further said that the said provisions were never talked by the Ways and Means, who approved the bill.

As per the report, Jesus “Bong” Suntay, Quezon City Representative, pointed out that one of the provisions recklessly allows searches without warrants by internal revenue officers (IRO) which was ordered to investigate hoarding of tobacco products.

He also noted that under Section 152, the said IROs are allowed to enter any places where articles under the tax are being kept. He also proposed to insert the phrase “upon ordered by the court” for the searches so that the amendment will be consistent with the basic rules on human rights, in which Salceda accepted.

Salceda also positively responded to the amendment proposed by Edcel Lagman, Albay Representative, who pointed out that PhilHealth was given by the original bill an exclusive privilege to spend 80% of the revenues collected on tobacco and alcohol. The proposed amendment by Lagman removed the privileges of PhilHealth.

The Albay Representative also proposed to clarify the meaning of the term “alcopops” which under his proposal, refers to re-mixed and ready to drink alcoholic beverages with alcohol content of less than 10 percent by volume and which alcohol is from malt or wines or a distillation process.

The imposed tax on “alcopops”, as well as fermented liquors will be 34% per liter which will take effect on January 1, 2022, and will be increased 4% every year starting January 2023.

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