Press Release
August 16, 2012

Drilon calls for the passage of the sin tax bill

Senator Franklin M. Drilon today called on his colleagues to pass a bill rationalizing excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.

The hearings on House Bill 5727 "An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products," otherwise known as the sin tax bill, started today.

This bill would simplify and update excise taxes on cigarettes and liquor, generating an additional 33 billion pesos a year for the national government.

Drilon said he agreed with the proponents of the bill that rationalizing sin taxes would not only raise funds for government's health care program but would also help improve the health of ordinary Filipinos.

"That smoking has no known benefit is beyond question. It is costly, it is harmful to one's health and it kills. That is a fact that has been proven by countless medical studies. And I know this from experience because my first wife died due to lung cancer."

"I want to spare our people from the tragedy of losing a loved one. This is why we should discourage people from smoking, and one of the ways to do that is to raise the price of cigarettes and make it less accessible to more people."

Drilon noted that poor people suffer more from smoking than the wealthy because they are unable to afford health care when beset with smoking-related diseases. Since they cannot afford proper health care, it becomes the burden of the government to provide adequate care for them.

"In my view, the sin tax bill is first and foremost a health measure, which is long overdue. We need to pass this bill now." Drilon said.

Drilon also added that local cigarette prices now are among the cheapest in Asia and raising the prices would not kill the tobacco industry as some opponents of the bill have claimed.

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