May 27, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Bill imposing tax on plastic bags passes at the House of Representatives

Photo: WWF Philippines

A bill imposing tax on plastic bags hurdles congress for the 3rd and final reading House Bill 4102, or the Plastic Bags Tax Act.

The said proposed measure aims to impose a ₱100 excise tax per kilogram on plastic bags to urge companies to find other environment-friendly alternatives. It also aims to increase tax by 4% every year starting on Jan. 1, 2026

HB 4102 hurdled with 255 affirmative votes and only three negative votes.

The said measure is a consolidation of two related bills authored by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing, and Nueva Ecija Rep. Mikaela Angela Suansing.

According to the proponents of the proposed bill, plastic pollution seriously endangers the ecosystem, especially bodies of water like rivers that are vital to fishermen’s livelihood.

Rep. Salceda said that the country generates between 2.7 million and 5.5 million metric tons of plastic garbage yearly, making the Philippines the third-largest contributor to plastic pollution. Of this volume, he said that one-fifth of the used plastics goes into the ocean.

Meanwhile, members of the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives expressed their opposition to HB 4102.

Representatives Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, France Castro of ACT-Teachers, and Raoul Daniel Manuel of Kabataan party-lists voted against the measure, citing the burden it could bring to retailers.

During the plenary session, Rep. Brosas said that “While we want to regulate the use of plastic bags for environmental concerns such as reducing pollution, this proposed measure will just be an additional burden to consumers, sellers, and retailers”.

The bill defines “single-use plastic bags” as “secondary level plastics made of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic polymer such as ‘ice,’ ‘labo,’ or ‘sando’ bags, with or without handle, used as packaging for goods or products.”

In line with the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, revenues from the tax on plastic bags shall be allocated to the programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources once the proposed measure will turn into a law.