House panel OKs bill imposing excise tax on plastic bags

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — The House Ways and Means Committee has approved a measure imposing excise tax on plastic bags.

The unnumbered substitute bill proposes a ₱20 excise tax for every kilogram of plastic bags removed from the place of production, or released from the Bureau of Customs' custody.

The measure defines plastic bags as "secondary level plastics made of synthetic or semisynthetic organic polymer," commonly known as "labo" or "sando" bags used in packaging products.

Committee chairman and Albay Representative Joey Salceda said the government can collect an estimated P4.867 billion yearly if the bill becomes a law.

Under the bill, taxes collected from plastic bags will be used for the implementation of solid waste management plans of local government units.

Sultan Kudarat Representative Horacio Suansing and his wife, Nueva Ecija Representative Estrellita Suansing, said taxing single use plastic bags would encourage the use of environment-friendly alternatives.

Citing data from the non-profit group Ocean Conservancy, the Suansings said the Philippines is among the top countries that generate the biggest amount of plastic waste that goes into the ocean.

Ocean Conservancy said the country generates 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste, and half a million tons of plastic waste leakage yearly.

The Suansings filed House Bill 178, which was consolidated into the unnumbered substitute measure passed by the committee.