Quimbo: House to OK P10 excise tax on soft drinks, sweetened beverages in Dec

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Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, chairman of House Committee on Ways and Means, said that the lower chamber will approve a measure imposing an excise tax of P10 on sugar sweetened beverages before the year ends.

Quimbo said that the excise tax of P10 on sugar sweetened beverages per liter of volume capacity aims primarily to develop a healthier population and provide an additional revenue of about P34.5 billion for the government.

“It will be passed before the Christmas break. It’s an important health measure where many of the poor become victims of this cycle of malnutrition and obesity,” Quimbo said.

On Tuesday, the committee approved the substitute bill to House Bill 3365 authored by Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing of Nueva Ecija after more than a year of hearings and meetings on the measure.

The bill defines sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) as “a non-alcoholic beverage that contains caloric sweeteners/added sugar or artificial/non-caloric sweetener. It may be in liquid or solid mixture, syrup or concentrates that are added to water or other liquids to make a drink.”

The SSB shall include: softdrinks; soda, pop and soda pop; fruit drinks, punches or ades; sweetened beverages of diluted fruit juice; sports drinks; sweetened tea and coffee drinks; energy drinks; all non-alcoholic beverages that are ready-to-drink and in powder form with added natural or artificial sugar.

It excludes the following: 100 percent natural fruit juices; 100 percent natural vegetable juices; yogurt and fruit flavored yogurt beverages with pure fruit and vegetable juice or concentrate; meal replacement beverages (medical food) and weight loss products; and all milk products, infant formula and milk alternatives, such as soy milk or almond milk, including flavored milk, such as chocolate milk.

In terms of allocation of the revenue collection from the excise tax on SSBs, the bill provides that 50 percent shall go to the General Fund; 20 percent to the DOH; 20 percent to the Department of Education while the remaining funds will go to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR),.

Earlier, the Department of Health said that about 44 Filipinos died of diabetes everyday and this may attributed to high consumption of sweet drinks such as soft drinks.