THE House Committee on Ways and Means yesterday began deliberations on a proposed law imposing P10 excise tax on every kilo of single-use plastic bags, which is being blamed for severe flooding in the country and deaths of marine animals.
Couple Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing and Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing Jr. filed House Bill (HB) No. 781 imposing P10 excise tax for every kilo of single-use plastic bag removed from the place of production or released from the customs house.
Estrellita Suansing underscored the need to solve the alarming plastic pollution in the country, saying almost 48 million shopping bags are used throughout the Philippines every day.
“The mass consumption of plastic in the Philippines further magnifies the flooding problem that Filipinos experience, especially during the typhoon season. To reduce its costly environmental impact, several countries have already imposed taxes on plastic bag,” she said.
But during the hearing, Estrellita said their new proposal would be a measly P10 per kilo of single-use carrier plastic bag with or without a handle and 50 percent of the revenues shall be allocated to the Solid Waste Management Fund.
“By imposing this levy, this bill endeavors to encourage the exploration and utilization of environment-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic bags,” Estrellita said.
“Furthermore, this proposed measure aims to generate additional revenues for the government which could be used to finance programs and projects to counter the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the Philippines,” said Estrellita Suansing.
Willy Go, president of the Philippine Plastics Industry Association (PPIA), told the panel chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda that plastic production has been reduced by 20 percent after some local government units (LGUs) banned its use.
“Probably the plastic bag industry will just disappear. So we think no need to legislate this bill as we are already dying,” said Go in opposing the proposal as he appealed to lawmakers to carefully study the measure.
“The cost will be higher. The root cause is the lack of discipline. What happened is we are penalizing the product and the consumer bears the impact,” Go added.
Steven Cua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association (PAGASA), appealed to Congress to ensure a balancing act in deliberating the measure.
“There has to be some balance. How would people shop?” said Cua who maintained that plastics are useful.