Tax on cigarettes, vapes, and alcohol to increase as Duterte signs law

Photo: Sara Kurfess/Unsplash
Photo: Sara Kurfess/Unsplash

Smokers and drinkers can expect their vices to become more expensive after President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law increasing taxes on cigarettes, vapes, and alcohol that will take effect this month.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed to the media today that Duterte has already signed the law, but Malacañang Palace has yet to release a full copy as of press time. The law is based on Senator Pia Cayetano’s Senate Bill 1074, proposed to raise money to fund the Philippines’ Universal Health Care program, which aims to provide citizens with medical care at a lower cost.

The newly signed law is estimated to generate around PHP24.9 billion (US$488.729 million) in annual revenues, according to The Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

SB1074 proposes that an additional 15 percent tax be imposed on distilled spirits, while a PHP600 (US$11) tax will be imposed on every liter of all sparkling wines. An additional tax of PHP45 (US$0.88) will be imposed on packs of cigarettes, while vaping liquids up to 50 milliliters will be hit with a PHP50 (US$0.98) tax, with another PHP10 (US$0.19) for every 10 additional milliliters.

In a tweet posted yesterday, Cayetano said that aside from raising revenues, she believes that the tax will serve “as a deterent (sic) to excessive consumption because of the higher prices.”

It was just in July when the president approved a separate tax increase for tobacco products, a move that the World Health Organization said was “a step in the right direction.”

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