Press Release
November 19, 2012

Transcript of Ambush Interview of Senator Franklin M. Drilon

On the sin tax bill

(It was taken up in the caucus that we will device a formula) that we will hit P40 billion. We have agreed on that. Number 2, the burden sharing for P40 billion will be 60 % for cigarettes and 40% for the liquor. In other words, P24 billion for the cigarettes and P16 billion for the liquor. The P16 billion will be split and shared in accordance with the historical burden sharing between fermented liquor and distilled spirit. We have also agreed the unitary tax rate for cigarettes effective at the fifth year of the bill. That is the consensus. Now, that agreement was ratified by the plenary. Therefore, tomorrow, we will present and vote on second and third readings on the revised version which will reflect those aggregates that we described on the record.

(Q: Why will there be a bigger share for cigarettes?) Dahilan sa historically mas mabigat at mas malaki ang share ng tobacco; at pangalawa, dahil ito ay health issue.

(Q: The unitary tax was moved to fifth year?) Yes, ang unitary was moved from the start of the fourth year in the committee report to the start of the fifth year. It was a compromise.

(Q: Are you confident it will be passed tomorrow?) It will be passed because we have arrived at the aggregate amounts that are going to be generated from this measure, so there is no more issue as to how it should be. We will present a formula which will arrive at P40 billion.

(Q: Are you disappointed?) I am not disappointed because from the very start our target is P40 billion. A one day postponement will not matter.

(Q: On SJPE's suggestion that the 20% be sourced locally?) The proposal of SJPE will be carefully studied because we do not want to get into trouble with our commitment in the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades) which can again resolve in some problems in WTO (World Trade Organization). Senator Enrile was open to that and we will study the effect of such proposal.

Magkakaroon pa ng individual amendments, but the critical portion of the bill as to how much incremental revenues must be generated from these so-called in products are already agreed at P40 billion. That is the crux and the meat of the sin tax bill.

We have already agreed and we have approved P40 billion. Hindi na bababa o tatataas.

Well, ito ang pinakamahirap na portion. The others are the allocation on how the additional incremental revenues will be distributed to the health sector. To me, that is not difficult to resolve.

We have already approved the bill that will generate P40 billion.

Tomorrow, at 2 o'clock, we will take up the amendments that will generate P40 billion; and then, we will take up other amendments principally on some corrections necessary because of the language; and we will receive amendments on the distribution of the incremental revenue. After that, we will vote on second and third readings. There is no more issue on the amount that will generate P40 billion; and that is voted upon on the plenary.

No RH before the sin tax; no RH before the sponsorship of the budget.

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