Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has informed the Department of Finance (DOF) that the Senate set up last year yet its oversight committee to review the impact of the Sin Tax Reform Act on both revenue collections and public health.
In his capacity as chairperson of the Senate panel of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (COCCTRP), Angara said in a letter to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that the Senate has already started the process of reviewing the Sin Tax Law.
The Senate panel “has already been constituted” and has Senators Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, and Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto as members, Angara said.
“We assure you that the COCCTRP is doing its best to fulfill its mandate to review the impact of the Sin Tax Reform Act and ensure that its revenue implications will help finance the Universal Health Care program of the government, and would contribute in addressing public health issues relating to alcohol and tobacco consumption in the country,” Angara said in his letter to Dominguez.
Angara, who also chairs the Senate committee on ways and means, said in his letter that he has also requested for information that will assist the panel in the review of the proper implementation of the Sin Tax Reform Act from several government agencies.
The agencies that have so far submitted data to the panel are the DOF; the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs; Departments of Labor and Employment, of Health, and of Budget and Management; Philippine Statistics Authority; National Tobacco Administration; and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Angara sent his letter to the DOF secretary in response to last December’s appeal by Dominguez to legislators to allow the Sin Tax Reform Law to “run its course” including Section 11, which states that “starting the third quarter of calendar year 2016, the Committee (referring to the COCCTRP) is mandated to review the impact of the tax rates provided under this Act.”
Dominguez made his appeal ahead of this year’s adoption of a unitary tax system for tobacco products, as mandated by the Sin Tax Law.
In his statement on the issue released last Dec. 8, Dominguez said the DOF considers “the Sin Tax Law or Republic Act 10351 to be a very good law.”
“Our position,” Dominguez said, “is to fully implement the law and let it run its course, including Section 11.”
Dominguez also said the DOF expects “this review to occur” as mandated by law and for it to “be done well to inform [us] what we should be doing in the future.”
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