Press Release
February 8, 2019


The Senate Committee on Ways and Means has concluded its public hearings on the bills proposing to increase the excise tax on tobacco, notably House Bill No. 8677 which pegs the tobacco tax rate hike at P37.50 per pack; Senate Bill No. 1599 which seeks an increase of P60; Senate Bill No. 2177 which raises to P70 the tobacco tax; and Senate Bill No. 1605 which sets the tax rate at P90.

During the three committee hearings, representatives from various government agencies, the health sector, tobacco-growing provinces, tobacco companies and sectors affected by the proposals presented their arguments and submitted their comments for consideration by members of the Senate panel.

A draft report, which contains the position of the stakeholders and technical inputs from the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO), is being prepared and is to be circulated among committee members for consideration.

While there is no consensus yet on the final tax rate, there is an agreement in principle to increase the excise tax on tobacco products in order to raise funds for the Universal Health Care bill and substantially reduce the smoking prevalence among the youth.

The committee is also inclined to increase the/ penalties against illicit tobacco trade to give more teeth to the law.

Congress will go on recess beginning today and will resume its session on May 20, 2019. The committee report will be sponsored and deliberated in the Senate floor upon resumption of the session in May.

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