Press Release
December 11, 2012


On the bicameral conference report on the disagreeing provisions of the Sin Tax Bill

While I do recognize the urgent need for a revenue measure that will bankroll health initiatives of the government, it is actually because of this recognition that I have stated time and again that I am not against raising taxes on sin products. But what I am against and will always be against with is an unreasonable and inequitable tax increase.

With the 69-31 burden sharing - 69% of the tax yield against the tobacco products - we would be wiping out more than 80 billion tobacco industry in the country thereby, causing hardship and suffering to more than 2 million tobacco farmers and workers especially those in the Northern Philippines due to unemployment. As your Senate Chairman of the Committee on Labor, ano na lang po ang sasabihin ko o ang mukha kong ihaharap sa ating mga tobacco farmers and workers na sumulat at dumulog sa inyong lingkod?

And also Mr. President, with the 69-31 burden sharing, there seems an obvious disproportionate imbalance on the treatment of tobacco and alcohol products, as if wanting it to appear that smoking constitutes as greater sin as compared to drinking alcohol in so far as its effects on health and society is concerned. Para bagang ang paninigarilyo ay mortal sin, samantalang ang pag-inom ay venial sin lamang. Hindi ba't ang alcohol consumption and addiction is equally hazardous if not more perilous to smoking?

At the onset of our plenary deliberations on the sin tax measure, I would have wanted to push for a 50-50 burden sharing as alcohol and tobacco should be similarly treated in the proposed excise tax measure. But respecting the decision of the majority, I voted in favor of the 60-40 burden sharing, hoping against hope that that with that kind of sharing, the concerns and fears of the tobacco farmers and workers will somehow be appeased. Pero nabalewala ang pinag-usapan at pinag-debatehan natin dito sa Senado na 60-40. Thus due to foregoing considerations and with the welfare of our tobacco farmers and workers foremost in my mind, I voted no.

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