Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Speech delivered on June 6, 2012 at the House of Representatives

I vote ‘NO’ because this measure will only impose higher taxes in the country. The bigger sin is not the act of smoking but the negligence on the part of the government to implement a more comprehensive plan to prevent or discourage people from smoking; and the failure to set up a health care system that addresses the overall well-being of the people, especially the poor. This measure is being hailed as the key component in the anti-smoking drive but the goal is to be achieved by charging more taxes against the people. It’s quite unfortunate that this measure is called a health care bill. It is not. It is actually a revenue generating measure which the government claims will be used to boost or improve the delivery of universal health care in the country. The measure is sustained by contradictory objectives: raise revenues on one hand; and drive down the sales of tobacco firms on the other. I must emphasize that my negative vote is not a vote in favor of smoking and tobacco firms. I must inform the public that even multinational tobacco companies have been aggressively lobbying in favor of the measure. In truth, I can’t trust this government to be true to its pledge that the funds generated from this measure will be used to finance health care. I can’t vote in favor of a measure that will only add revenues to a corrupt bureaucracy. There are other ways to stop smoking and there are more effective mechanism to rationalize tax collection in the country without passing the burden of higher taxes to the people. The convenient and popular option is to vote yes to higher sin taxes. But tonight I cast my negative vote because as a matter of principle, and in my conscience, I cannot support a measure which for me has no clear benefit for the great majority.

2 Responses to “No To Higher Sin Taxes”

  1. Greetings! Sir, regarding the survey of Tao and Health Justice, what’s your stand? Are you for health or tobacco, knowing that you are against higher sin taxes? 🙂

    NB: We already submitted the survey to your office po. 🙂

    Lornito Mahinay Jr

  2. […] the government line, Akbayan also promotes the so-called “sin tax” that aims to raise revenues by further burdening the masses in the guise of going against tobacco […]

    The Real Score: Akbayan’s Opportunist Roots And Bogus Reformism | Hello.Lenin!

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