Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Duterte administration made history by increasing the excise tax on tobacco twice to raise funds for the Universal Health Care program.
“I think we made history. I think it is only in this administration that tobacco taxes were raised twice. We’re quite thankful to the Senate and also to the House [of Representatives] for putting this bill over the line,” Dominguez said in a statement Wednesday.
Senate Bill 2233, which was approved unanimously by senators on third and final reading on Tuesday, provides for a unitary P45 excise tax increase per pack on tobacco products in 2020, followed by a series of P5 hikes until the rate reaches P60 in 2023, and a 5 percent annual increase thereafter.
The House concurred with the Senate version after senators reconsidered its earlier final reading approval of the bill Monday night to address the concerns raised by congressional representatives from the tobacco-producing provinces of Northern Luzon.
The Finance Department said the phased increase was acceptable and would secure the necessary funding for the UHC program.