Press Release
November 16, 2012


President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday certified as urgent Senate Bill 3299 or the sin tax reform bill that, in effect, allows the proposed measure to be approved on second and third reading on Monday sans the three days interval rule, announced Senator Franklin M. Drilon.

"The President certified as urgent the sin tax reform bill for he believes the passage of this very important piece of legislation will buttress government health agenda and address the high prevalence of smoking in the country," said Drilon.

The certification, which was signed by the President before he leaves for Cambodia to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, gives authority to Upper Chamber to vote on a measure on second and third reading without having to observe the three days interval rule, explained Drilon.

As a rule, a bill must undergo three readings on three separate days except when the President certifies a bill as urgent to meet a public calamity or national emergency.

"Pursuant to the provisions of Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill 3299 to address the urgent need to restructure the excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products in order to enhance revenue generating potential of the tax system, and utilize the incremental revenues therefrom to augment the funding for the universal healthcare program of the government," the President said in the certification letter.

"We are in the final stretch. We are only one step farther before the passage of this bill; but, certainly, without the support of the President, we would not have gone this far," said Drilon who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Drilon said SB 3299, which faced a thorough scrutiny of senators during the five extended session days, will face individual amendments on Monday prior to its ratification.

"After all interpellations on the committee amendments were closed and the committee amendments having been accepted, then we now go to the period of individual amendments wherein the Senators can propose amendments. If these amendments are accepted by the Chamber, they will be considered as part of the bill."

"I am confident that our colleagues have seen and realized the importance of this reform measure to a great majority both as a health measure and as a finance bill. I am confident that they will vote for its passage when session resumes on Monday," ended Drilon.

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