Press Releases

On increased tax rates on alcohol products

July 9th, 2024

Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda
Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means

I am in support of increases in alcohol taxes. I think I’m the first member of the 19th Congress, in both houses, to file a bill increasing excise taxes on alcopops. I sponsored the most recent alcohol excise tax increases. I’m all in on the principle.

I am alarmed, however, by the prevalence of illicit trade in alcohol and tobacco. Inflation has driven up the black market. In tobacco alone, since 2021, we have lost around ₱221 billion in notional revenues versus targets because of illicit trade. Tobacco excise tax revenues have been declining despite higher tax rates – so something is up, and we can’t simply ignore it.

The Ways and Means Committee will be reviewing BOC practices and protocols to see how we can prevent something similar taking place in alcohol. I see this as essential before an across the board increase in alcohol tax rates.

I’m all for increased tax rates on alcohol. It’s still far too cheap that it allows binge drinking. But because legal alcohol has become too expensive for the legal market, we really need to deal with illicit trade, hand-in-hand. That’s the policy balance I’m working with: not an argument against higher rates, but an argument for better enforcement alongside higher rates.

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