Bill on higher alcohol taxes gains traction in House

MANILA — A measure seeking to raise the excise tax on alcohol products hurdled second reading at the House of Representatives.

During Monday’s plenary session, the chamber passed through voice voting House Bill 8618, which seeks to impose higher tax rates on alcoholic beverages to significantly curb consumption and increase funding for the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) program.

The bills aim to slap higher excise taxes on distilled spirits, wines, and fermented liquors.

The current 20 percent ad valorem tax imposed on distilled spirits shall be increased to 22 percent, while specific tax rates per proof liter of PHP30, PHP35, PHP40, PHP45 shall be imposed from 2019 to 2022.

The specific tax rate shall be increased by 7 percent annually starting 2023.

The bill seeks to impose a 15 percent ad valorem and a single specific tax of PHP650 per liter on sparkling wines.

Still wines and carbonated wines containing 14 percent of alcohol or less will be taxed PHP40, while those with 25 percent alcohol content or less will be taxed PHP80.

An annual increase of 7 percent shall be imposed starting 2020 for these wine products.

For beer, the tax per liter will increase by PHP2.60 in 2019. Filane Mikee Cervantes/

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