GOVERNMENT authorities must ensure that tax and other incentives provided under a new law on plastic waste management are properly implemented to encourage companies operating in the Philippines to stand by their obligations in helping address the plastic problem, an official of a non-government organization told a House panel on Thursday.
“These incentives would be useful enough [to] entice compliance,” Angela Consuelo “Gia” Ibay, who heads the Climate Change and Energy Programme of the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature Philippines, said during the House committee on sustainable development goals.
She also suggested an evaluation of “other perverse incentives in other laws that were created that might have an impact in the implementation of the circular economy.”
Republic Act No. 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022 requires producers, manufacturers and other companies to move away from single-use plastics and establish their own waste recovery schemes in partnership with communities, local governments, and other stakeholders.
Under the law, registered enterprises may apply for tax incentives and tax and duty exemptions for costs relating to initiatives to recycle, reduce, or reuse.
The law also allows “expenses of enterprises [to be] considered as necessary expenses deductible from gross income subject to the substantiation requirements for necessary business expenses deductible from gross annual income,” under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
Jose Uy III, senior vice-president and head of corporate affairs of Nestlé Philippines, said that lawmakers should pass more policies and approve funding for infrastructures that would encourage producers and manufacturers to repurpose plastic waste.
Bukidnon Rep. Jose Manuel F. Alba noted that the lower chamber last year approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 1272, which will require the government to procure supplies created from recycled products.
Mr. Uy said Nestlé is in talks with the International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste on how it can “attract investments on plastic circularity technology and infrastructure for flexible plastics waste.”
BASF Philippines Business Manager Shiela Rose H. Tang said that eight million tons of global plastic waste end up in the oceans per annum, with only 18% recycled.
In the Philippines, only 30% of plastics are recycled, with unrecycled materials that go to waste or downcycled valued at around $1 billion, according to the IFC said.
Various global studies have placed the Philippines as one of the biggest plastic generators and polluters. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz