Philippines ‘sin tax’ introduced, dampens New Year fun



President Aquino, center, signs into law Republic Act 10351, Sin Tax Reform Bill 2012, on Dec. 20, 2012. The “sin tax” on cigarettes and alcohol dampened the New Year party spirit when it was introduced in the Philippines Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, as part of a government bid to boost finances. AP/MALACAÑANG PHOTO BUREAU, LAURO MONTELLANO JR.

MANILA, Philippines—A “sin tax” on cigarettes and alcohol dampened the New Year party spirit when it was introduced in the Philippines Tuesday, as part of a government bid to boost finances.

Many stores started selling tobacco and drink at inflated prices before midnight, ahead of the official implementation of the tax hikes on January 1, hitting partygoers in the pocket.

Tax on cigarettes will gradually be raised to P30 ($0.72) per pack by 2017, roughly doubling the current price to around 52 pesos.

Duty on alcohol will also increase gradually until 2017, increasing the price of a bottle of beer by 23.50 pesos, with varying levels for other drinks including wine and spirits. It will be further increased by four percent each year thereafter.

“The new prices compared to countries like Singapore, for example, are still low, but for the ordinary Filipinos they are expensive,” said Laudemer Angeles, a 33-year-old shop owner in the town of Bacoor, south of Manila.

“Many of my customers were complaining about the higher prices and were not too happy when they bought their booze and smokes for their parties last night.”

Anti-smoking campaigner Emer Rojas said he hoped the new taxes would lead to a gradual decline in the number of people suffering from tobacco-related illness.

“I think the sin taxes should even be raised higher,” he told AFP. “But we commend President Aquino for showing his resolve in signing the law.”

The government has said that the country of 100 million has the highest incidence of smoking in the region, with tobacco-related diseases costing the country P177 billion ($4.3 billion) last year.

The new taxes aim to raise P33 billion ($800 million) this year alone, gradually increasing over the coming years.

A large percentage of the money will go towards the government’s healthcare program.

The government first asked Congress to raise taxes on “sin” products as early as 1997, but a strong lobby by tobacco manufacturers stifled change.

The lobby included members of Congress representing tobacco-growing regions as well as powerful cigarette companies that enjoyed one of the lowest tobacco taxes in Southeast Asia.

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  • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

    it’s about time! cigarette smokers are the most selfish people in the world. 

  • Ommm

    ” A large percentage of the money will go towards the government’s healthcare program.”

    You mean used to bail  out the current health program which not too long ago covered 50% of health costs but now has dwindled to 20% for the elderly? Why don’t we just load them into bancas and set them adrift, it would be more humane on the families? (satire)

    And what a pile of disorganized cra#  this is…days ago some stores were charging P30  a pack and refusing to sell rims so come Jan 1 they could double their money on old stock. These greed merchants are price fixing at 2017 prices and it’s just turned 2013??…Nobody even  knows what to charge today as no info has been released for store owners or beer merchants.

    Now this government is going to see exactly what their greedy pie in the sky aspirations are truly going to yield as shocked consumers simply quit or cut back drastically ( as they claimed  they wanted them to)…the health care system will go from bad to terrible in short order as revenues on even the previous taxes dwindle.

    The rich will still drink and smoke but unfortunately in the Philippines the majority are poor and have been extorted out of the market. This president will be left feeling foolish and have the wrath of the poor that elected him considering entire new opinions  of their decisions to elect him.

    Good going Pnoy…go enjoy a smoke now and ponder the foolish hypocrite you are….

    • EC

      I don’t see any point in whining over a disruption in the sale of a poisonous commodity.

      • Ommm

        First tobacco and booze…next we have firecrackers and taxing text messages…see a pattern here?

        Next poisonous commodity may be your water. Considering you sound like a monk have you ever studied the effects of the endosufin discovered in the Princess of the Stars sinking? That second most toxic pesticide on earth that was headed for Bukidnon to be used indiscriminately? Outlawed in all first world nations and a known carcinogen known for it’s ability to cross oceans in the jet stream?

        Certainly it’s pervasive in the Philippines water table. What else could explain the high incidence of blood and mysterious brain cancers in this country?… Yet it has no sin tax because you can’t see it, along with the scores of other toxic pesticides used freely in the country that were banned from the real world in the 60’s…

        Remember this…everybody who has ever drank water has died.

      • EC

        Toxicity of pesticides still being used in the country is a different issue altogether from the known toxic effect of tobacco smoke on human health and the effort of the government to curb consumption of tobacco products.
        Your beef really is the high taxes the government is imposing on your favorite poison. You can opt not to pay those taxes by not consuming those products. Alcohol, tobacco, firearms/firecrackers are not only not essential for  a productive life but a waste of valuable resources.

      • namhansaram

        yes, susunod na firecrackers….

    • rayingga

      You want the poor to spend their hard earn money to buy cigarettes and alcohol, masaya ka doon. Pa english english ka pa eh basura din naman pala ang laman ng utak mo

    • Weya S.

      let the rich drink and smoke… if they get sick they don’t rely my taxes anyway. Did you even read the article? 177 Billion pesos which come from taxpayers are being burned to for illnesses caused by sin products. So you sir are a m0r0n. IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD PAYING YOUR OWN HOSPITAL BILLS, THEN DON’T DRINK AND SMOKE!

      • Ommm

        “177 Billion pesos which come from taxpayers are being burned to for illnesses caused by sin products.”

        A most curious statement considering no definitive proof has every been presented proving cigarettes are a definitive cause of lung cancer. In fact statistics do reveal 85% ARE smokers but please explain the other 15%?

        Hospitals are full of people dying who have never smoked in their lives yet the government chooses to demonize smokers as an easy scapegoat for the reality that death from some cause is inevitable. Meanwhile they collect an “extortion tax” on a product they neither manufacture or produce.

        The governments own statistics reflect that the majority of drinkers and smokers are poor. They have targeted the population segment that has the least education or resources to speak out for themselves. These slaves of substance abuse find solace in their simple pleasures which the government has been feeding from for 100 years.

        These are drugs, pure and simple yet you chastise the victims rather than the drug lords…this government.

        Do you expect these people to quit their vices because their habits do not conform with your vision of health care budgetary balance? Most could care less about tomorrow as they are without hope…unlike you who gets her rocks off calling people morons in the safety of internet anonymity.

      • Weya S.

        “A most curious statement considering no definitive proof has every been presented proving cigarettes are a definitive cause of lung cancer. In fact statistics do reveal 85% ARE smokers but please explain the other 15%?”


      • Ommm

        Posting from Facebook makes you real?…ok i see what we are dealing with….

        Alright i do agree 85% are smokers and thatdoes look definitive…yet science has no cure or explanation for cancer yet. Did you know that nearly 100% of wild birds die of cancerous tumors? They certainly don’t smoke.

        Many researchers now attribute cancer as being a self imposed physiological disease. Smokers are constantly reminded of their mortal sin, without any conclusive proof it does harm the health. But we feel good doing it so that can’t be right, and as humans we tend to chastise ourselves for feeling good.

        Personally i smoke like a chimney and drink like a fish and am 65. Got no cancer but lot of friends who didn’t smoke die in their 20’s of mainly, stupidity.

        Oldest women on earth died at 127 and smoked until age 105.

        Bottom line is being a non smoker is no ticket to immortality…unless you choose to believe the government.

        BTW Weya…is your caps button stuck?

      • Yul Dorotheo

        Of course, everyone will die of something someday. Which government says being a non-smoker is a ticket to immortality?

        Just because a smoker dies at an old age does not mean all smokers will die at an old age. Statistics clearly show that in general, non-smokers live longer than smokers.Smoking increases the risk for disease and premature death. There are many studies that have measured the relative risk (RR) of developing various diseases among smokers vs non-smokers, e.g. the relative risk of a smoker having a heart attack is more than 200% or twice the risk of a non-smoker; or the RR of a smoker having a stroke is more than 400% of the risk of a non-smoker; or the RR of developing lung cancer among smokers is 1,300% compared to the risk of non-smokers.The proof of harm is even now acknowledged by tobacco companies, although they used to deny the health harms for decades, stirring up contrived controversy that led to many people not being convinced of the harms of smoking.

      • Ommm

        But you are claiming statistics and none of us consider ourselves such…

        If a person chooses to kill themselves by smoking, that’s their right.

        Point is our government is treating them statistically as a method of covering up for their historical poor governing.

        The government has been collecting tax on these items for 100 years with no complaints. Suddenly when their milking cow gets sick from the products they have endorsed and profited by, it becomes blame the user.

        Canada for instance has 100% health care. You go to the hospital and you don’t need “minders”, that’s what nurses do. Drugs are supplied, no need to send out sister to buy them with family money. Hospitals are modern and the poor are treated equal to the rich. They have just as many smokers and a similar cancer rate.

        The difference is that country has not elected a pile of looters for the last 50 years so good health care can be afforded to all.

        Do we really want to blame the victim for his ultimate demise, quoting statistics…or have mercy, preserving life when possible?

        Smoking did not or will not kill this countries health care system…apathy and cowardliness of the voters did, They sold their right to a democracy for P500 in a backyard to some self serving politician and this is your end result…live with it.

      • mon abiera

        if you can’t afford smoking then quit. Plain and simple

      • namhansaram

        hwag ka na

      • namhansaram

        mr ommm hwag ka ng umangal kasi ang boses mo di didinggin kahit na ano mangyari….tama sila bawasan na ang mga nakaka afford to buy ng yosi para medyo mabawasan ang mga pasyente na nagkakasakit dahil sa smoking…

      • namhansaram

        dapat gawin 30 pesos isang stick para iwasan na ng mas nakakarami ang sigarilyo. 

    • regd

      Hehehehe, spoken like a true disgruntled drinker/smoker. Times up savvy.

    • Amaya Bai

      what a cheapskate.. and a jerk.

    • namhansaram

      this is great kasi now mas maiisip na sila kung bibili pa sila ng yosi or save the money para makaipon….

  • Maria Ceilo

    Cigarettes prices in the Philippines is still among the cheapest in Southeast Asia and around the world even after the new Sin Tax Bill enacted. Come on Folks!! we get use to it.  Prices of cigarettes in the Philippines is still still 50% off compare to the cigarettes  in South Korea. The cheapest cigarettes  in South Korea is around P 75.00 per pack – up. Not only that, you could not BUY 1 stick in that country so you really need at least P 75.00 peso compare to the Philippines P 1.00 to 2.00 is enough for you to smoke and satisfy your smoking thirst..

    • Maria Ceilo

      Anyway, the earnings in South Korea is non comparable to the Philippines as their minimum wage is at least KRW 900,000 won or around P35,000 pesos; While the Philippines is only P 7,000.00 minimum wage not of the quarter of the minimum wage in South Korea.

      It simply means SIN for Smoking and Alcohol is not allowed for the poor in the Philippines

      • Weya S.

        Hello?!? Smoking and Alcohol is not allowed for the poor in the Philippines because if they get sick they suck out taxpayers money. Money that could have been used for infrastructure, for education not for useless things such as lung cancer which is caused by a SIN product….

      • Ommm

        “not for useless things such as lung cancer which is caused by a SIN product”

        I wonder if WE sinned we would get cancer….??

      • namhansaram

        this is true…

    • lexmil

      Yes, local cigarettes are cheaper, but have you tried comparing a cigarette made in Singapore or Japan with local ones?.  Their cigarettes are firmer thanks to more tobacco leaves.   This has been the subject of complaint as early as the 80s, if I recall right.  But it has remained. 

  • La Pepa Loca

    i dont smoke pero 9 out of 10 friends ko is a smoker.. kawawa naman sila.. im sure di ko na sila maririning nahumihingi ng yosi sa isat isa.. sana may increase din sa sweldo yung tipong 50 % din… para patas..

    • Yul Dorotheo

      Sana nga tumaas ang sweldo nila, pero mas kawawa naman sila (at ang kanilang mga pamilya) kung magkasakit sila dahil sa paninigarilyo. Kung pera lang ang pag-uusapan, masmalaki ang gagastusin nila sa paggamot kaysa sa pambili ng yosi. Okay sana kung mayaman sila katulad nina Lucio Tan at Chris Nelson ng PMFTC na parehong di naninigarilyo. Kung breadwinner pa sila at di makatrabaho dahil sa sakit, di ba’t masmabuti ang tumigil sa pagsigarilyo?

    • Amaya Bai

      mas kawawa kung namatay sila of lung cancer.

  • disqusted0fu

    Great! Now the government will have more taxpayers’ money to corrupt! Look how proud Pnoy and Drilon are on the picture!

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • Amaya Bai

    Smokers rant, nobody cares, even if they die of cancer.

  • lexmil

    Good, now the youth who could no longer afford cigarettes will  turn to marijuana. Great idea. 

    • Amaya Bai

      where’s the logic in that???

      • lexmil

        Is that action governed by logic? 

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