Philippines to pass 'sin tax' on tobacco and alcohol

Featured - November 16th, 2012

The Philippine Senate is expected to pass a sin tax reform bill on Monday, aiming to raise government revenues from tobacco and alcohol products.

The bill is one of President Benigno Aquino’s priority legislations and it will “buttress government health agenda and address the high prevalence of smoking in the country,” Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, told local media. The government aims to raise yearly revenues to 45 billion pesos from 40 billion pesos.

“I am confident that they will vote for its passage when session resumes on Monday,” Drilon said.

Several lawmakers opposed the bill, including Senator Ralph Recto, who was the former head of the committee and initial sponsor of the sin tax bill.

“If we increase the taxes too much, thousands of workers, distributors, farmers, etc., could be displaced,” Sen. Recto said.

Sen. Recto resigned from his post amid accusations that his committee favored the tobacco industry. He reiterated that the intention of the sin tax bill was to curb the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products among the poor, who are the biggest consumers, Philippine Inquirer reports.