SP bucks tax on sweetened sugar

Visayan Daily Star (Gilbert Bayoran) |http://goo.gl/8vaQuu

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental unanimously passed a resolution yesterday vehemently opposing the proposed bill that would impose an excise tax of P10 per liter on sugar-sweetened beverages that it called “anti-poor.”

“Imposing the P10 per liter of volume capacity and increasing the rate to four percent every year thereafter on sweetened beverages, will be a big additional burden to sugarcane farmers”, Board Member Miller Serondo said in his resolution co-authored by all SP members present at their regular session.

The bill, authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, inserts a new section, 150-A, in the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 stating: “there shall be levied, assessed and collected on sugar-sweetened beverages per liter of volume capacity, an excise tax of P10.”

The bill defines a sugar-sweetened beverage 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.”

Serondo said there is no conclusive scientific nor medical findings in the Philippines pointing to carbonated drinks as the primary cause of diabetes and obesity, unless taken in large amounts or in excess.

He also said that sugarcane farmers are already subjected to Value Added Tax that reached more than P2.52 billion and a credible withholding tax.

“The sugarcane farmers are also contributing P10 per 50 kilo-bag of sugar to the Social Amelioration Fund for cash bonuses of farm and mill workers”, Serondo said.

Rafael Coscolluela, provincial government consultant on investment and promotions, trade and export development and inter-agency coordination, had said earlier that the fate of the sugar industry is being threatened by the proposed law.

Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, who presided over the SP session, said copies of the resolution will be furnished to all congressmen, who are representing the sugar industry.*GPB