No backing yet from Congress for DOF’s planned junk food taxes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — The Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposed measure seeking to impose a tax on junk food has yet to gain support from any lawmaker, according to its chief.

“Wala pang sponsor… Both chamber walang sponsor,” Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno told media members late Friday.

[Translation: There’s no sponsor yet… In both chambers, there’s no sponsor.]

This was echoed by Finance Undersecretary Karlo Adriano, saying a bill has yet to be filed either in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

In June, Diokno said his department would pursue the measure that would impose a ₱10 per 100 grams or ₱10 per 100 milliliters tax on pre-packaged foods lacking nutritional value.

These include confectioneries, snacks, desserts, and frozen confectioneries, that exceed the DOH's specified thresholds for fat, salt, and sugar content.

READ: Tulfo slams 'anti-poor' plan to hike tax on junk food, sweetened drinks

Diokno said the proposal would be put “on hold.”

“We will just rely on those bills that are likely to be passed. I think there are some four of them, right? Like for example, single-use plastic, tuloy ‘yun (that will be pursued). ‘Yung digital payment, lulusot ‘yun (that will be passed),” he said.

Diokno added that the DOF would be pushing for the tax on mining as he sees it as “another source of growth.”

“The new companies are not willing to come in. They're waiting for that, clarity on the direction with the mining tax,” he said.