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Filipino Lawmakers Approve Sugary Drinks Tax

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

13 November 2015

A legislative committee in the Philippines has backed a proposal to impose an excise tax on sugary drinks in an attempt to improve public health.

The proposal was approved by the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives on November 11 and will place an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages of PHP10 (USD0.21) per liter. The tax will be increased at a rate of 4 percent per year starting from January 1, 2017.

The Bill defines sugar-sweetened beverage as "a non-alcoholic beverage that contains caloric sweeteners/added sugar or artificial/non-caloric sweetener. It may be in liquid or solid mixture, syrup or concentrates that are added to water or other liquids to make a drink."

The Bill excludes the following beverages: 100 percent natural fruit juices; 100 percent natural vegetable juices; yogurt and fruit flavored yogurt beverages with pure fruit and vegetable juice or concentrate; meal replacement beverages (medical food) and weight loss products; infant formula; milk alternatives, such as soy milk or almond milk; and flavored milk, such as chocolate milk.

The legislation requires manufacturers and importers of sugar-sweetened beverages to submit a sworn statement of the volume of sales for each particular brand of beverage sold at three-month intervals. Taxpayers not fulfilling this requirement may have their permit to engage in business as a manufacturer or importer cancelled.

It is estimated that the measure will result in PHP34.5bn in additional revenue for the Government, one-fifth of which will be spent on health care initiatives. Half of the revenue will go into the general government fund, with the remainder spent on local projects to improve water supplies.

TAGS: tax | business | public health | Philippines | food | health care | legislation | Tax

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