Duterte certifies as urgent bill seeking higher tobacco excise tax

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2019 05:43 PM | Updated as of May 28 2019 08:52 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill seeking to increase excise taxes on tobacco products.

The Presidential Legislative Liaison Office confirmed Tuesday that Duterte has certified Senate Bill No. 2233 as urgent.

"I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 2233… to address the urgent need to further protect the right to health of the people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Act," the document read.

When a bill is certified as urgent, there is no need to wait for the 3-day period between the second and third readings before it gets passed.

The bill is proposing a staggering increase in excise tax on cigarettes from year 2020 to 2023.

The Senate bill proposes a starting rate of P45 in 2020, followed by a series of annual P5 increases until the rate reaches P60 in 2023. The House of Representatives' version seeks to raise it to P45 per pack, to be implemented in tranches until 2022.

The Office of the Senate President received the document at 6:46 p.m. Tuesday.