Sakto lang dapat: Benitez says sugary drink tax should be P5, nothing more

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Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep. Albee Benitez is bent on fighting the proposed P10 per liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or sugary drinks under the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform measure.

Benitez, leader of the 42-strong Visayan bloc at the House of Representatives (HOR), claimed Sunday (May 21) the imposing such hike could kill the P87-billion industry.

He said that a good compromise is to implement a P5 per liter hike instead on SSBs, which include soft drinks and power and energy drinks.

“We believe that the P10 proposal is too high and may kill the local sugar industry. We will propose this to slash by half,” Benitez said.

It should be noted that the Negros Island Region (NIR) where the politiko hails from is known as the “sugar bowl” of the country. The NIR produces 57 percent of the Philippines’s total domestic sugar.

The congressman also called the SSB tax “anti-poor” as the sugar industry is already burdened with value-added tax (VAT) and creditable withholding tax.