To eliminate pervasive poverty in the Philippines, the Department of Finance’s (DOF) tax reform program focuses on constraining the massive usage of alcohol products, heated tobacco products (HTPs), vapor products, and e-cigarettes by increasing sin taxes for universal health care and infrastructures.
In a forum, last September 6 at Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), Undersecretary of Finance Karl Kendrick Chua shared that the comprehensive tax reform program’s incentives will have to be reviewed.
“Ibababa po natin ‘yung corporate income tax rate pero ‘yung mga incentives or subsidies or freebies or exemption na binibigay natin, kailangan din nating ireview para ‘yung mga incentives lamang na kailangan talaga para umunlad ang ating bansa ay mananatili at ‘yung ibang incentives ay gradually face out na natin,” he said.
Chua added that DOF’s next priority includes three purposes which are ensuring funds for universal health care, avoiding consumption of harmful products, and making sure the young do not jeopardize their future if they get sick.
“’Yung pangalawa naming priority ay ‘yung excise tax on tobacco, e-cigarettes, at alcohol,” he explained.
The said tax collection would be based on a person’s capability to pay, which would greatly benefit those in the marginalized sector.
The collected money would be allocated for the funding of the infrastructures, health, education, and other social services programs.
“The primary focus of the campaign or the sin tax is really to prevent the young and the poor from consuming the products kasi sila ‘yung pinaka vulnerable,” Mr. Arjay Mercado of Action and Economic Reforms said on the act of increasing the excise tax on tobacco products, imposing excise tax on heated tobacco products and vapor products.
Atty. Ben Nisperos of Health Justice Philippines also shared that their campaigns include taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
“Our stand is we have to raise the taxes on e-cigarettes to be not accessible especially to the minors, and we have to impose a framework like banning access and selling of the products to minors, banning flavorings which are targeted to minors, and ensuring safe packaging of these products,” he said
As of now, the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program is on a mission to accelerate poverty reduction and to sustainably address inequality, to attain the President’s promise of “Tunay na pagbabago.”