SENATE President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. voiced their opposition to the unequal imposition of taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages under House Bill 5727 or the sin tax bill, saying the tobacco industry and the farmers would suffer if the Malacañang-proposed bill is approved.
“It is inequitable,” Enrile told reporters at the sidelines of the Senate ways and committee hearing on the proposed revenue measure.
“The burden is on the tobacco industry as against the others that are importing some of their raw material, eh papano naman yun? Kawawa naman yung aming mga tobacco farmers. During summer time, that’s their source of income. Nagtatanim sila ng tobacco.”
Enrile clarified he is not opposed to the passage of the sin tax bill but this should be equitably imposed.
Under the House-approved version, tobacco products will have to pay an estimated P27 billion in additional taxes while alcohol products will have to pay P4 billion to reach the P31-billion revenue target.
The revenue would be spent for the universal health care.
“Kaya kailangang suriin at pag-aralan talaga ang magiging epekto kung 10 percent ang taas ng tax rate or 20 percent, we have to crunch the numbers para malaman kung ano ba talaga ang epekto at kung ang epekto ay mawawalan ng tabaho ang mga tao sa tobacco industry, anong gagawin natin sa mawawalan ng trabaho,” Marcos said.
“This industry supports three million workers. Umaasa or nagde depende sa tobacco para sa kanilang hanapbuhay. Di basta dapat pabayaan.”
Enrile assured that the bill will be passed by the Senate but with amendments.
When asked if the measure will be passed before the year ends, Enrile said, “I don’t know. I doubt it.
Sen. Ralph Recto expressed optimism that his panel would be able to wrap up its hearing in a month’s time and the measure would be signed into law by the President before the year ends.