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Food makers appeal to gov’t

The impending tax law on sugar-sweetened beverages, currently being studied carefully by both houses of Congress, is seen to grossly impact the C, D, and E classes of society.

Formerly known as the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package and now called the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN or House Bill 5636), the latest proposal to impose taxes on SSBs has been an ongoing issue and various sectors are appealing to President Duterte to reconsider.

Based on the latest study done by the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Inc., the proposal to impose an excise tax of P10 per liter for volume capacity on sugar-sweetened beverages will not only be the highest in the world but it will also hit the poor the most.

If the TRAIN is approved and the proposed new tax is passed, a 3-in-1 coffee sachet, currently priced at P5, will be P8; a one-liter bottle of juice concentrate currently priced at P9 will have a retail price of P30; a one-liter bottle of tea currently priced at P20 will be P30; and carbonated drinks currently being sold for P15 per liter, will cost P25.

The products covered by the TRAIN or HB 5636 will include all sweetened juice drinks; sweetened tea; sweetened coffee; all carbonated beverages with sugar, including those with caloric and non-caloric sweeteners; flavored water; energy drinks; sports drinks; powdered drinks not classified as milk, juice, tea, and coffee; cereal and grain beverages; and even non-alcoholic beverages with sugar.

The government’s vision for the TRAIN or HB 5636 is to create ‘a tax system that is simple, fairer, and more efficient, characterized by low rates and a broad base that promotes investment, job creation, and poverty reduction.’

However, this impending tax measure, based on the study of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers, Inc. is seen to increase prices of the usual commodities commonly purchased by the C, D, and E classes of society.