Solon vows not to take proposed tax
on processed food with ‘grain of salt’

June 15 2017 5:35 PM


Image from Department of Trade and Industry
                                  Image from Department of Trade and Industry

A lawmaker vowed to resist a bill imposing excise tax on processed products containing salt.

Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna said the proposed “asin tax” was “anti-poor.”

“Sa Asin tax, maski end product ang bubuwisan dahil per milligram ang kwentada nila ay napakabigat nito sa mahihirap,” he said.

(Under the salt tax, the computation on a processed food product is per milligram, so  if it is the end product that will be taxed, it is the poor that will bear the brunt of the effects of such a measure.)

Zarate said the new tax would affect a number of products often purchased and consumed by lower income groups, such as sardines and noodles, which would often be distributed as relief goods.

Based on the computation of the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers Incorporated during a hearing of the ways and means committee, a noodle pack priced at P6.85 now would be around P8.00 if the bill would be passed.

“This bill is definitely anti-poor and must be opposed,” Zarate said.

House Bill No. 3719 seeks to amend Section 151 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.

The bill aims to include a provision that states: “On manufactured goods that have sodium chloride, or any of its derivatives, as an ingredient and which include but are not limited to canned goods, processed food, and junk food, a tax of P1.00 shall be levied on every milligram of sodium in excess of one-third of the allowable daily intake of sodium chloride as prescribed by the Department of Health.”

The measure could be a way “to pressure citizens into adopting a healthier diet,” according to the explanatory note.

The salt tax is being proposed as the Senate prepares to deliberate on the comprehensive tax reform package approved by the House of Representatives.  The tax package will include, among others, an excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages.