Aquino certifies as urgent Sin Tax Reform Bill

President Benigno S. Aquino has certified as urgent the Sin Tax Reform Bill that seeks to increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol products.

“Kakapirma ko po ng certification na urgent,” the President announced during his exclusive interview with Bombo Radyo Philippines aired on Wednesday morning.

House Bill 5727 or Sin Tax Reform Bill was recently passed by the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill, authored by Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, will restructure alcohol and cigarette taxes.

The President said that the measure will strengthen the current tax structure and will also help the tobacco farmers to sell their products for more competitive prices.

“Yung sitwasyon ho sa tobacco, for instance, ay nagkaroon ng merger – ‘yung dalawang dating magkalaban, naging isa na lang na malaki. At ‘yung batas, ‘yung kasalukuyang batas, sinisigurado ang monopolya nitong kaisa-isang natira. Parang nadi-discourage ‘yung lahat ng ibang mga players na pwedeng maging competitive. Ang epekto po sa magsasaka, iisa lang ang bebentahan… paano mo mapapaangat ang presyo ng ibebenta mong produkto kung iisa lang ang bumibili? Talagang magkakaroon tayo ng sitwasyon na ayaw mo, huwag mo,” he explained.

President Aquino added that the restructuring of the sin tax system will bring in additional revenues to the government that can be used to fund public healthcare and provide livelihood assistance to farmers.

“Now, ang paniwala namin, pagtaas nitong buwis na ito dadagdag ng mga 33 billion pesos ang paghahatian ng lahat ng tobacco-growing areas at naka-earmark na,” he said. “Pero mapupunta ito doon sa health-related na activities at meron din para sa pagsuporta sa livelihood nitong mga magsasaka na nandyan sa tobacco.”

“In short, tinutulungan natin ‘yung magsasaka in the sense na merong ibang bibili ng tobacco mo, hindi -ulitin ko nga- hindi ho iisang grupo. Iisa na lang ang bumibili ng tobacco at pwede niyang sabihin kung ano ang presyo niya at wala kang pupuntahang iba,” added.

The President said that the measure will also create a more level playing field in the tobacco market adding that the bill will also discourage alcohol and tobacco use.

“Tapos ito nga ho, sin product, ako po’y aminado naninigarilyo ako, gusto rin nating i-discourage dahil malaki ang gastos sa health nito at isama na rin nating ‘yung inumin,” he said.#