With votes of 176-30 with two abstentions, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill about tax hike on cigarette starting 2017.
Authored by Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera of party-list group Arts, Business and Science Professionals, Bill 4144 proposes to keep the present regime of two tax rates on cigarettes based on their retail prices. Under this bill, the new rates are P32 per pack for cigarettes with a retail price of up to P11.50 and P36 for those selling above P11.50 per pack.
As opposed to the proposal, the Department of Finance said it would not discourage smoking since smokers would just shift to low-priced cigarettes. On the other hand, the stand of Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco, the largest cigarette maker in the country, is for keeping the present law intact and for a single tax starting next year.