Gov't eyes tax on junk food, sweetened beverages

By Anna Leah Gonzales

June 21, 2023, 7:44 pm

<p><em>Courtesy of PTV</em></p>

Courtesy of PTV

MANILA – The government is planning to impose taxes on junk food and sweetened beverages next year, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.

"The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Health (DOH) are jointly pursuing a junk food and sweetened beverage tax as a proactive measure to tackle diabetes, obesity, and non-communicable diseases related to poor diet," Diokno told reporters in a Viber message.

Under the proposed tax program, Diokno said the DOF plans to impose a PHP10 per 100 grams or PHP10 per 100 milliliters tax on pre-packaged foods lacking nutritional value.

These include confectioneries, snacks, desserts, and frozen confectioneries, that exceed the DOH's specified thresholds for fat, salt, and sugar content.

Diokno said the DOF also intends to increase the sweetened beverage tax rate under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to PHP12 per liter, regardless of the type of sweetener used.

"This tax rate will be indexed annually by 4 percent, and exemptions will be eliminated to broaden the tax base. These measures aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the sweetened beverage tax by further discouraging the consumption of such beverages," he said.

"The implementation of the junk food and sweetened beverage tax package is projected to generate an additional PHP76 billion during the first year. The tax package is estimated to result in a 21 percent reduction in consumption of junk food," Diokno added.

He said the revenues from the tax package will fund several socio-economic programs initiated by the Marcos administration, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development's food stamp program.

The program will provide support to one million food-poor households. (PNA)