Zubiri pushes lower excise tax on sugar sweetened products

SENATOR Juan Miguel Zubiri said Friday, June 9, that he will propose for the lowering of the excise tax on sugar sweetened products using locally produced sugar and to increase the tax for products using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other sugar substitutes.

From P10 per liter, it should be lowered to P5 per liter, he said.

“That will be my thrust when Congress resumes after the State of the Nation Address of the President in July. I may sound bias but we have to fight for our sugar farmers. I may be getting the ire of the economic managers but that is a small sacrifice for the good of the sugar industry,” Zubiri said during a press conference in Bacolod City Friday.

The Comprehensive Tax Reform Package that includes the excise tax on sugar sweetened products was approved by the House of Representatives last month.

Moreover, Zubiri said the Senate committee on agriculture will soon come up with a recommendation on the issue of HFCS importation.

“We support Sugar Order No. 3. The Sugar Order No. 3 should remain in place and importation of HFCS and other sugar substitutes’ should also be closely monitored by the Sugar Regulatory Administration. It should highly regulate it. We are also making a position that the Department of Agriculture should protect our farmers rather than allow importation of HFCS and other sugar substitutes,” he added.

He said the committee members will be unanimous in the committee report that will make a good policy position on HFCS.

Senator Cynthia Villar, committee chair, with members Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino, Sherwin Gatchalian, and himself are unanimous against HFCS and other sugar substitutes, Zubiri added.

Zubiri met with the members of the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines in Bacolod City Friday.

“I asked them to ask other senators to help the opposition on HFCS,” Zubiri said.

Martial Law in Mindanao

Meanwhile, Zubiri said the Martial Law in Mindanao could be extended after 60 days.

“I don’t think it’s enough. If they want to neutralize this new group of extremists the Martial Law in Mindanao should be extended,” he said.

He said the military is not fighting the usual jungle fight after it was proven through a video shown during the Armed Forces of the Philippines briefing that the extremist jihadist group in Mindanao that includes the Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Maute Group, and AKP, have formed an alliance.

The alliance group reportedly planned the Marawi City take over and from there will be the staging attacks in Iligan City, Cagayan de Oro City and other cities in Mindanao.

“They knew where to position that’s why they still have ammunition. They have prepositioned ammunition and firearms in particular homes within Marawi that made it hard for the military operations,” Zubiri said.

The senator, who hails from Bukidnon, said that 90 percent of the people in Mindanao support the Martial Law.

He added that crimes, including drug cases and drug-related offenses, have lowered in Mindanao because of Martial Law.

“I am backing Martial Law in Mindanao, but not in the whole country,” Zubiri said.
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