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House panel OKs higher tax for single-use plastic

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The House Committee on Ways and Means approved on Tuesday a proposed legislation that seeks to impose higher tax on single-use plastic.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, panel chair, said members of his committee unanimously approved House Bill No. 178—a measure seeking to raise the tax on single-use plastic from P10 per kilogram (kg) to P20/kg.

According to Salceda, imposing higher tax on plastic bags is now the “practice” among states belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and across East Asian countries.

About P4.8-billion in revenues is expected to be collected by the government if HB 178 finally becomes a law considering that the local daily consumption on plastic bags average at 96 million pieces per day.

Salceda explained the HB 178 is “just the first” since he is also eyeing to tax “primary plastic packaging” especially sachet packaging—as it accounts for two-thirds of solid waste and garbage.

The Albay solon said the panel has deferred the inclusion of the primary plastic packaging in the measure “due to possible food inflation and (spike) in prices of basic commodities” like shampoo toothpaste.

Salceda stressed that once the country’s poverty level goes to single digit, Congress may include primary plastic packaging “possibly in 3-4 years.”

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