The Sin Tax Bill is a youth issue

While the highly controversial Reproductive Health Bill has succeeded the consciousness of all sectors of the society, another bill is yet causing a stir among Filipinos, the youth included - the Sin Tax bill.

The proposed bill aims to increase the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products that are being sold in the country. This means an additional of as much as R30 tax on a pack of cigarettes, and R300 per proof liter for liquor. The Philippines is one of the countries in the world that sells the cheapest cigarettes and liquor.

Some groups have said that the reform bill will benefit the country one way or another. For one, the increased tax will greatly increase government revenues, and the pricier "sin products" may lower the number of its users.

But the University of the Philippines Economics Towards Consciousness (UP ETC) would like to see the issue beyond just raising revenues and lowering the number of consumers. It's all about how the tax revenues may benefit ordinary Filipinos.

Last Wednesday, the student organization held a Sin Tax Consciousness Parade on UP Diliman grounds to voice out their support for the passing of the Sin Tax Bill.

UP ETC, along with students from different organizations such as UP Alyansa, UP Green League and Alpha Phi Beta fraternity, marched around the academic oval of UP Diliman to inform students on the bill currently pending in the Senate. The House will resume hearings on the Bill on Sept. 20.

"We believe there are two issues that the passage of the Sin Tax Bill will answer. Una ang issue ng kalusugan. Alam naman natin na seven out of 10 ng matinding pagkamatay ng mga Pilipino ay dahil sa tobacco-related diseases. More than 200 Filipinos die daily from these diseases. On the economic side, for the past several years matagal nang hindi tinataaas ang tax sa mga produktong ito at ang dami sanang revenue ng government na makukuha na puwede gamitin sa iba't-ibang sectors," explained UP ETC president and senior BS Business Economics student Arjay Mercado.

SAVING LIVES AND MONEY

According to reports furnished, the money the government spends on tobacco-related healthcare issues is more than the revenue it gets from the taxes collected from tobacco and alcohol products. This means that the government is spending more to cure diseases - chronic pulmonary diseases, heart disease, cancer, liver diseases etc. - that are caused by the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

"Makakatulong ito lalung-lalo na sa mahihirap. Kapag titignan natin ang monthly expenditures nila, mas mataas pa ang binibigay nila sa tobacco compared sa edukasyon ng mga anak nila," said Mercado, 19.

Mercado said that it is just right to increase the excise tax to these products since they are not basic commodities. Indeed, if a stick of cigarette costs R5, a smoker who consumes one pack (20 pieces) per day would spend R3,000 a month. For Filipino families who struggle to make ends meet, R3,000 is a lot of money.

In the proposed Bill, the part of the revenues collected will go to government health care programs and alternative livelihood projects for farmers in the tobacco and alcohol industries.

"What's unique about this Bill is that 15 percent of the revenues collected will be given to alternative livelihood for farmers. A certain percentage will go to the universal healthcare, which will cater to all not only to tobacco-related diseases, basically healthcare needs ng mga kababayan natin," Mercado added.


YOUTH CALLED TO ACTION

This youth-initiated action only shows that young people care about this issue, Mercado reiterated. He said that UP ETC has in fact sent its position paper to the Senate regarding the Sin Tax Bill.

"Issue din ito ng youth in a sense that we do care about what happens to the Filipino families, to the workers," he added.

In an earlier report, the National Youth Commission (NYC) stated that there is an increase in the number of young smokers in the country. Two of five Filipinos aged 13 to 15 years old consumed tobacco last year. The increase in cigarette prices may thus curb the number of young smokers.

"Progressive policy making 'to, dapat aware ang mga estudyante sa mga polisiya na pinapasa ng gobyerno para hindi sila nagtatanong, sa halip bilang UP student sila ang nageeducate sa mahihirap at sa nakakausap nila about Sin Tax bill. Kailangan may sariling appreciation from the community and maganda nga ang mga students ang nag spearhead ng education sin tax," shares UP Alyansa chairperson Ace Ligsay.

UP ETC further plans to push the passing of the bill. They will help in the nationwide signature campaign of raising one million signatures in support of the sin tax bill. They also plan to do forums and information campaign on the said bill.

"Isa sa mga objectives namin is to raise people's awareness about issues. We do this para maintindihan ng mga tao 'yung tinatalakay natin. Hindi lang to influence them but to be informed, kung sasama sila dito, alam nila 'yung issue, alam 'yung pinaglalaban. We'd like them to sign the manifesto because we need to collect at least a million signatures. At least may contribution ang youth sector," Mercado said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions
    Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions

    By Kanupriya Kapoor and Jane Wardell CILACAP, Indonesia/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Indonesia said the execution of nine drug traffickers would go ahead this week, rebuffing last-minute appeals from Australia and the Philippines to spare their nationals and ignoring a decision by the Constitutional Court to hear a final challenge. Australia began the day with a plea for a stay in the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, saying reports that their trial had been tainted by corruption needed to …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia urged Indonesia Monday to delay the execution of two men for drug offences until a corruption probe into their case is complete, after a report that judges sought tens of thousands of dollars in bribes. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within days, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. The Indonesian attorney-general's office said the executions would take place this week but did …

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP
    ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are …

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief
    Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. …

  • Pump prices up anew
    Pump prices up anew

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. “PTT Philippines will increase pump prices of gasoline by P0.70 per liter and of diesel by P0.30 per …

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing
    PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the …

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals
    Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700
    Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options