By Jeffrey Damicog
Malacanang has certified as urgent the bill which proposes the imposition of higher excise tax on tobacco products.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who has been designated by President Rodrigo Duterte as officer-in-charge while on an official trip in Japan, said the certification of urgency for Senate Bill No. 2233 is on its way to the Senate.
“The Certification of Urgency for SB 2233 has been signed and is on its way to the Senate,” Guevarra said Tuesday.
The Senate is eyeing the final approval of the bill imposing higher excise taxes for tobacco products by Monday before the 17th Congress adjourns on June 7.
The bill proposes a staggering increase in the excise tax per cigarette pack from 2020 to 2023.
The proposal recommends a starting rate of P45, or P10 in the first year of implementation, which will be followed by an annual P5 increase until the rate reaches P60.
After this, the tax would automatically increase by five percent annually.
House Bill 8677, on the other hand, pegged the tobacco tax hike at P37.50 to P45 per pack until 2022, which would increase by four percent every year thereafter.