The Sin Tax bill (House Bill 5727 and Senate Bill 3249) is a bill which aims to restructure the existing taxes imposed on alcohol and tobacco goods. On December 20, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III signed the Republic Act 10351 or the sin tax reform 2012. The Sin Tax Bill is a sensationalized issue in the Philippines and it gets several mixed reactions from different stakeholders in the country or Filipinos at large. Filipinos are expected to reduce their vices like alcoholism and smoking as a target result of this Bill. Aquino said the new law aims to favor both the government and the Filipino people since revenues to be generated from the measure will be used to fund health insurance programs for the poor, and build and renovate hospitals in the country. Most families of Filipinos especially those who are not residing in urban areas are farmers. The source of their livelihood is farming tobacco products and harvesting fermented liquors, in our dialect “tuba”.
They are now the immediate concern that the government should consider upon the approval of this Bill. Higher taxes on tobacco products mean lesser income for these farmers. Especially, that they are not the owner of the lands they’re farming, they also pay lease for the lands. Unemployment is one of the possible outcomes of the Sin Tax Bill, especially on our farmers. If they become jobless, they likely can resort to different illegal activities just to provide for their family. The aim of the Sin tax Bill is to discourage smokers and alcoholics. But the problem here is that, especially on Filipinos who claim that these vices are addiction to them, they would still continue smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, to the point that they would sacrifice some of the immediate needs of their families just to sustain their wants. Filipinos are very steadfast on every endeavor they undertake. But they have this mindset that the Programs of the Government are not reaching the true and deserving beneficiaries, like farmers.
They may not benefit from these health programs because in the first place they are not living in the cities where standard and quality health responses are located. Maybe these projects may be beneficial to the Filipinos but what of the immediate impact on these increases of taxes? Different Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages companies might also decrease the salaries of their workers or lay-off employees because its production will become more expensive. It will really affect factory workers and even small-scale business owners.
On the other hand, I think this Sin Tax Bill has its positive goals especially to the youth of the nations. Most consumers of these “sin goods” are youth. With the presence of this bill, there will be higher prices on different cigarettes and alcoholic drinks and since they cannot afford it, they will be discouraged to smoke and drink alcohols. Let’s just cross our fingers that the youth will not resort to illegal means just to continue their vices, especially the out-of-school-children-and-youths. Since they do not have a proper education, we should take it into account that OSCYs are more vulnerable to these vices and if they are not guided properly, this Sin Tax Bill will make sins bigger.
Courtney from Study Moose
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