The Department of Finance expressed support to proper plastic waste management involving the use of recyclable packaging to put an end to the “throw-away culture.”
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno welcomed the approval of a proposed bill that imposes excise tax on single-use plastics (SUPs).
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading in November 2022 House Bill 4102 or the Single-use Plastic Bags Tax Act, imposing an excise tax of P100 for every kilogram of SUPs removed from the place of production or released from custody of the Bureau of Customs.
The bill seeks to help regulate the consumption of SUPs as part of the country’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution.
Diokno thanked the House under the leadership of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez for exercising swift and careful judgment on the approval of the Single-use Plastic Bag Tax Act. The bill was transmitted to the Senate on Nov. 15, 2022.
“This is our contribution to the global movement to reduce pollution, while raising revenues needed to manage economic risks and rehabilitate the country—like hitting two birds with one stone,” Diokno said in a statement.
The price of a pack of plastic labo bags is estimated to increase by around 75 percent in the first year of the proposed law’s implementation, with an estimated decline in volume by around 24.7 percent.
The retail price of sando bags is expected to rise 79.3 percent, which is expected to result in a 26.1-percent decline in volume.
The proposed tax will increase yearly by 4 percent beginning 2026, and incremental revenues collected will be allocated to the Department of Natural Resources’ programs for the implementation of Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
A 70-percent assumption in collection efficiency will translate into estimated revenues of P38.06 billion for five years of implementation beginning 2023.
If passed into law, the bill will address the long-standing issue of plastic waste management by promoting the use of recyclable packaging, and ending the “throw-away culture.”
Studies showed that market-based instruments, such as taxes aimed at discouraging the use of SUPs, proved effective in curtailing plastic waste generation.
In the ASEAN region, Brunei and Vietnam imposed taxes on SUPs. Vietnam saw a 23-percent reduction in daily plastic consumption—from 746 tons a day in 2014 to 577 tons in 2017.
In the United States, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Seattle curbed plastic consumption by 85 percent, 72 percent and 78 percent, respectively after taxing SUPs.
According to the World Bank, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam account for 55 percent to 60 percent of plastic wastes entering the oceans. SUPs were also found to be among the primary wastes collected during DENR coastal clean-up campaigns.
Role of LGUs
Diokno also sought the expanded role of local government units in the fight against climate change.
He said LGUs should play a broader role in helping reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by teaming up with the national government in implementing “green” programs such as reforestation, rehabilitation and development of mangroves and transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources, to name a few.
LGUs should scale up efforts in adaptation, in light of the increasing vulnerability of coastal communities from extreme weather events, he said.