MANILA, Philippines – Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV on Sunday defended the President’s smoking but expressed hope that he would cut down on his habit when his term ends in 2016.
“Mas marami na pong taong nagpayo sa kanya (President Benigno Aquino III) na mas matalino at mas magaling ho sa akin at palagay ko naman ho ay pinakikingan nya yan. Kaya lang talaga, I guess, napaka-stressful ng trabaho nya. Baka po ito na mismo ang pinaka –escape nya, outlet nya,” Aquino IV said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
“But I’m hoping na siguro pagkatapos ng kanyang presidency baka po magkapanahon na sya talaga na mag-lessen na po sa paninigarilyo,” he said.
The President’s cousin made the statements when asked about his stand on the controversial sin tax bill, which seeks imposition of higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. And he threw his support behind the bill.
“Ako kasi hindi naman ako naninigarilyo. Mas malaya akong magsalita tungkol dito,” he said.
In supporting the bill, Aquino IV cited the experience of other countries, which impose higher taxes on tobacco products.
“Palagay ko tama lang na i-push po natin ito,” he said but was quick to acknowledge the possible effects of the passage of the bill on tobacco farmers.
Although it was not proven that the higher imposition of taxes on tobacco products would result to unemployment of its farmers, Aquino IV said the government should a prepare a program to address such concern.
“I think in terms of balancing that, meron na man po tayong kakayahan na masiguradong matutulungan itong mga farmers natin,” he added.