Philippines’ proposed salt tax slammed by lawmakers

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Salt

A Philippines law designed to tax each excess milligram of sodium relative to guidelines has met with strong opposition at committee stage after one representative remarked that such a levy would add PHP534 (US$10.74) to the price of a pack of instant noodles.

The house bill, authored by Scott Davies Lanete, seeks to levy a PHP1 tax on “every kilogram of sodium in excess of one-third of the allowable daily intake of sodium chloride​”, based on Department of Health guidelines.

During a meeting of the ways and means committee, Lianda Bolilia said that a sodium tax would hit the poor hardest. Impecunious communities that ate large amounts of junk, canned and processed foods were the highest consumers of salt, she said.

She worked out that a sodium ceiling of 666mg, based on a recommended daily salt intake of 2,000mg, would substantially increase the price of instant noodles, which sometimes contain some 1,200mg of sodium. 

Other members of the committee argued that salt should be regulated rather than taxed if it was in fact , as Lanete described it, “a silent killer​.”

Salt is not the enemy​,” said one member, while another said: “I cannot imagine increasing the tax on salt. Most of the poor only have that to eat​.”

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, South East Asia

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