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Minimum cigarette price bill draws more support in Congress.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., yesterday endorsed the passage of the Minimum Cigarette Price (MCP) bill, saying the measure will stifle the cigarette price war and discourage the youth from smoking.

According to the Cavite?o lawmaker, who is also a lawyer and certified public accountant (CPA), the measure hits two birds with one stone - it discourages people from smoking and, at the same time, will bring more money to the national coffers and thus increase our health care funds."

"Of course, we want the bill's primary objective of deterring youth smoking to succeed, after all, as public officials, we must put forward the best interest of the nation at heart and in this case, their health," Barzaga said.

House Bill No. 5013 filed by Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona seeks to impose a minimum price of P38 per cigarette pack beginning January by 2015, P44 by 2016 and P51 by 2017. From 2018, the floor price would then be adjusted every year by four percent.

The floor price does not include excise tax and the 12-percent value added tax (VAT).

Under the proposal, the tax per cigarette pack shall be pegged at P21 starting on Jan. 1, 2015 if the net retail price, which excludes the excise tax and VAT, is P11.50 and below, and P28 per pack if the retail price is more than P11.50.

The tax will increase to P25 and P29 on Jan. 1, 2016 while a single tax rate of P30 per pack will be imposed starting on Jan. 1, 2017.

This rate will then be increased by four percent every year beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

Lawmakers have said that zeroing in on the youth's limited buying power is a good strategy to altogether lessen smoking prevalence among the 18 to 24 year-old age group and discourage prospective young smokers from initiating tobacco use.

According to Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) data from January to June of this year, excise tax collections on sin tax products amounted to P46 billion, exceeding the government's target of P11.04 billion by 31.6 percent.

Tobacco products had a bigger share of the total, amounting to P28.18 billion. The amount is a 44.4 percent surge from P19.51 billion in 2012.

"Aside from discouraging the youth from smoking, revenue-wise, it's an excellent complement to the Sin Tax law that has already exceeded its targets," Barzaga said.


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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Nov 3, 2014
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