By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NCUSIP) yesterday passed a resolution endorsing the proposal by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri to impose a P5 per liter excise tax on local sugar and a P20 tax on imported sugar and artificial sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
In a document signed by NCUSIP General Secretary Hernani Braza, the initial proposal of a P10 per liter excise tax would have “put the Philippine sugar industry in a more precarious situation” and called it “anti-poor.”
He also cited the Federation of Philippine Industries, which called the proposed 10 percent value added tax on sugar-sweetened beverages “anti-poor.”
“The poor are the most affected by this tax measure as they consume more of these kind of beverages,” Braza explained.
Last month, Zubiri proposed a three-tiered tax plan on sugar-sweetened beverages.
The senator said, with his plan, the taxation method and tax rates can address important concerns, such as the government’s need for revenue and to stop rising cases of diabetes and obesity.
Zubiri also warned, an excessively high sugar tax could potentially lead to the collapse of the sugar industry, which would displace hundreds of thousands of farmers and mill workers, and lead to hunger for at least five million Filipinos heavily dependent on the sugar industry./WDJ