Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the Senate to begin deliberations on proposals seeking to impose an excise tax on single-use plastic bags.
Pangilinan made his call after the House of Representatives committee on ways and means approved House Bill 178 which seeks to impose a PHP20 excise tax per kilogram of single-use plastic bags on Dec. 10.
“Ngayong tapos na ang budget hearing, mayroon pang ilang nalalabing araw ng taon kung kailan maaring dinggin ang mga inihaing batas ukol sa single-use plastics dito sa Senado (Now that budget hearings are over, there are still few days left where we could start hearing the proposed measures on single-use plastics here in the Senate),” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“Malacañang na mismo ang nagsabi na pinag-aaralan na nila ang pagbabawal sa single-use plastics, kung kaya’t kailangan na talagang simulang dinggin ito sa Senado (Malacañang itself is studying ban on single-use plastics, so it’s imperative that the Senate start the hearings),” he said.
Pangilinan added that passing measures that will tax or ban single-use plastics is also a “step in the right direction’ in helping mitigate the effects of climate change.
He pointed out that one only has to look at the aftermath of Typhoon Tisoy, which left an estimated PHP3.7 billion in damages, to see how serious the effects of climate change are.
“Kaya dapat ay bilisan natin ang pagpasa ng mga batas na makakatulong mabawasan ang epekto nito. Isa na rito ang pagpataw ng buwis sa mga single-use plastic at ang pagbabawal sa paggamit nito (So we should hasten the passage of bills that would mitigate its effects. Among them is imposing taxes on single-use plastics and banning its use),” he said.
The senator also said revenues to be generated could be used to lessen the risks and effects of climate change.
“Maaring magamit ang revenues na ito sa pagpapaigting ng Disaster Management and Risk Reduction initiatives sa ating bansa, o kaya naman ay pagpondo sa mga pag-aaral kung paano natin mapapabawas ang epekto ng climate change (The revenues could be used to boost Disaster Management and Risk Reduction initiatives in the country, or fund studies on how to mitigate the effects of climate change.),” Pangilinan said.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the committee on ways and means, said the proposed House’s bill could generate PHP4.8 billion in government revenues within a year of its implementation.
At the Senate, Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 40 which proposes a ban on the manufacture, importation, and use of all single-use plastics, particularly disposable plastics commonly used for plastic packaging and food items such as grocery bags, food packaging, films and bags, manufacturing water bottles, straws, stirrers, containers, styrofoam/styros, cups, sachets, and plastic cutlery.
Under the measure, recycling single-use plastics will also be incentivized.
SB 40, which was filed in July this year, is currently pending with the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change. (PNA)