Guv pushes lower excise tax on sugar sweetened drinks

NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said Monday, May 22, that the proposed P10 per liter excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages should be lowered.

A House bill increasing the excise tax on sugar sweetened drinks, including high fructose corn syrup, was filed by Sultan Kudarat Representative Horacio Suansing Jr. and his wife Nueva Ecija Representative Estrellita Suansing last week.

The proposed measure is seeking a P10 per liter excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages, with 20 percent of the fund going to the Sugarcane Industry Development Act and the 80 percent, to the General Fund.

However, the Visayan Bloc in the House of Representatives is pushing for only P5 per liter excise tax on sweetened beverages to minimize its effects to the sugar industry.

Marañon said the Negrense lawmakers need to lobby hard their proposal to the Congress.

The governor added that it is better to reduce further the proposed excise tax to P2 or P2.50 per liter from P10.

He said that a P10 excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages is high, and it may lower the consumption and sales of sugar, which would affect the industry.

Negros Occidental produces about 60 percent of the country’s sugar output.

For his part, former vice governor Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of Sugar Alliance of the Philippines, said sugar leaders in the province met on Monday to prepare for their representation in Congress on Wednesday, May 24.

They are also seeking the reduction of the proposed P10 per liter excise tax to P2.50, he added.

Yulo said they are hopeful that the legislators would heed their appeal.

If the measure to slap a P10 per liter excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages is approved, it would have a direct and indirect impact in the industry, he added.
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