Sin tax bicam approves earmarking, PhilHealth gets biggest share

SENATOR Franklin Drilon said the bicameral conference committee has finally approved all disagreeing provisions in the Sin Tax Bill including the earmarking of P248 billion projected revenues which the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) got the biggest share.

In a brief press conference before the session begun on Monday, Drilon said that the bicameral conference committee has approved all disagreeing provisions on Sin Tax bill including earmarking for the P248 billion projected revenues.

“After four hours of debate, we are able to reconcile all disagreeing provisions on sin tax bill, which is expected to sign by all members tomorrow (Tuesday) before submitting to the plenary of both Houses for ratification,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the panel has agreed to earmark 15 percent of P248 billion projected revenues each for the livelihood programs of Virginia tobacco and barley leaf farmers as mandated by Republic Act 7171 and 8240.

On the remaining balance, Drilon said that 80 percent will go to the premium payments for the coverage of 5.2 million poor families to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in fulfilment of the Medium Development Goals (MDG) and public information dissemination on health.

The panel also allocated 20 percent of the remaining balance for medical assistance and health enhancement facilities program which include the funding of modernizing government hospitals to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH).

Drilon added that the panel accepted the proposal by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to allot P2 billion from the incremental revenues to curb smuggling but with slight modification to apply only to cigarettes and distilled spirits.

The panel also accepted that 15 percent of tobacco leaf used as raw material in the local manufacturing of imported cigarettes must be source locally subject to adjustments based on international treaty commitments of the country.

Earlier, the panel approved the following projected revenues: P33.96-B and P42.86 billion (69-31 burden sharing) for 2013 and 2014 respectively; P50.63 billion (66-34) in 2015; P56.86 billion (65-35) in 2016; P64.1 billion (64-36) in 2017.

Drilon expected to enrol the measure after ratification by both Houses next week and hopefully sign by President Benigno Aquino III before Christmas.

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