By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Former Negros Occidental Governor Rafael Coscolluela and Sugar Alliance of the Philippines (SAP) spokesperson, Atty. Dino Yulo, expressed their opposition to the planned imposition of an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Yulo, who attended yesterday’s sugar summit, said excise taxes would double the price of certain products, including 3-in-1 coffee packs and sugar-mixed drinks.
“The effect would lower demand for domestic sugar,” Yulo said.
The SAP spokesperson said he hopes the senators voting on the measure are made aware of his group’s sentiment on the issue.
Yulo said the Negros Occidental Provincial Board should pass a resolution opposing the tax reform package and ask for a six-year moratorium on a sugar excise tax.
Coscolluela, meanwhile, said the resolution should be brought before the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), especially with regard to strengthening the Sugar Industry Development Council (SIDC), which is mandated by the Sugar Industry Development Act (SIDA).
“The SIDC needs to play a major role in promoting the growth or viability of the sugar industry,” Coscolluela said.
The former governor, however, disagrees with the idea of a six-year moratorium on the said tax proposal, saying there should be no excise tax on sweetened beverages.
“My personal position is no excise tax on sweetened beverages,” Coscolluela said. “The position of the industry is trying to work for a compromise by either changing the formula or ask for a moratorium.”
He added, an excise tax is anti-poor and counterproductive, and the promised benefits from the tax reform proposal would eventually be a burden to the poor./DGB, WDJ