NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez submitted a proposal to the House Committee on Ways and Means to lower the proposed excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages from P10 to P5 per liter.
Benitez also proposed to delete the additional excise tax of P4 per liter every year on all products using sugar as sweeteners.
The Negrense lawmaker, however, agreed on the proposal that 15 percent of the proceeds from the excise tax be allocated to the Sugar Industry Development Act (Sida) which he authored in the House of Representatives.
The Sida provides that the sugar industry be provided P2 billion annually as Sugar Development Fund.
Benitez said he will meet with the members of the Visayan Bloc Wednesday, March 24, to solicit suggestions that he can incorporate in the proposed amendments.
He added that the Department of Finance also asked to discuss his proposal to reduce the excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages from P10 to P5 per liter since it would mean a P22-billion reduction in the projected earnings of the government.
“If we will allow the original proposal, time will come that the prices of soft drinks and other beverages would be higher than building a house,” Benitez said.
For his part, Emilio Yulo III, spokesperson of Sugar Alliance of the Philippines, asked Benitez to lobby for more reduction up to P2.50 per liter, and a moratorium of five to six years.
Sugar leaders in Negros Occidental had earlier expressed strong opposition to the proposed P10 excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages as it could lower the consumption and sales of sugar thereby, hurting the industry.