House panel OKs P20 per kilo tax on single-use plastic bags starting 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on ways and means approved the bill that would impose a P20 excise tax per kilo of single-use plastic bags starting 2020. 

On Tuesday, December 10, the panel approved House Bill (HB) No. 178 which was primarily authored by ways and means committee vice chairperson Estrellita Suansing and her husband, Sultan Kudarat 2nd District Representative Horacio Suansing Jr. (READ: Single-use plastics, still the environment's number 1 enemy)

If passed into law, HB No. 178 would add a new section under Chapter VI, Title VI of the National Internal Revenue Code to impose excise tax worth P20 for every kilo of single-use plastic bags "removed from the place of production or released from the customs house."

The new tax would be effective starting January 1, 2020.

The bill defines single-use plastic bags as "single-use plastic carrier bags, with or without handle, which are supplied to consumers at the point of sale of goods or products."

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, chair of the House ways and means committee, estimates the proposed excise tax would yield some P4.8 billion on its first year of implementation.

The government revenue to be collected would help fund the government's solid waste management programs under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Salceda said Congress would next consider imposing tax on plastic packaging like sachets. (READ: Sachet away: What's lacking in our plastic laws?)

"It's just the first step. The next step is a tax on primary plastic packaging especially sachet since it accounts for two-thirds of solid waste and garbage. We deferred that due to possible food inflation and prices of basic commodities [like] shampoo, toothpaste. However, if poverty goes single digit, we will include it possibly in 3 to 4 years," Salceda said in a Viber message to reporters.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself is eyeing to ban single-use plastics in the country, though he has yet to decide what kind of material would be allowed to take the place of single-use plastics. 

In 2015, the Philippines was found to be the 3rd biggest source of plastic waste in oceans globally, accounting for 5.9% of total mismanaged plastic waste in the world's seas. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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