Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday vowed to raise the issue on possible unabated smuggling of foreign tobacco products once a high tax is imposed on local tobacco.
“I will raise the issue on smuggling, among other equally important concerns, in the ongoing interpellation and I vow not to stop until I am satisfied and assured that this is answered and addressed properly and convincingly,” Marcos said in a statement.
Senator Franklin Drilon, acting chair of the Senate ways and means committee, is currently defending on the floor the Malacañang-backed sin tax measure aimed to generate 40 to 45 billion pesos in additional revenues yearly.
Marcos explained that once a much heavier levy on cigarette is imposed, producers, manufacturers and sellers would be forced to slowdown because of its prohibitive effect.
He warned that the situation would be exploited by smugglers who will have a heyday dumping the local market with smuggled tobacco products and raking in huge profits without paying a single centavo to the government.
“While we are debating heavily on the health and revenue issues surrounding this bill, I believe that we have to also discuss the smuggling issue with the same vigor and passion. In the first place, smuggling is likewise a revenue issue,” Marcos said.
Marcos also called on the Aquino administration to draw from the experience of Canada, where high tobacco taxes have led to unabated smuggling and other crimes.