New Year’s revelers gripe after ‘sin tax’ takes effect

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AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–A “sin tax” on cigarettes and alcohol—part of a government bid to boost finances—dampened the New Year spirit when it took effect throughout the country Tuesday in the midst of celebrations.

Many stores started selling tobacco and alcoholic products at inflated prices before midnight, ahead of the official implementation of the tax hikes on Jan. 1, hitting party-goers in the pocket.

The tax on cigarettes will gradually be raised to P30 per pack by 2017, roughly doubling the current price to around P52.

The duty on alcohol will also increase gradually until 2017, raising the price of a bottle of beer by P23.50, 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 other countries, like Singapore for example, are still low but for ordinary Filipinos they are expensive,” said Laudemer Angeles, a 33-year-old store owner in Bacoor, Cavite.

“Many of my customers were complaining about the higher prices and were not too happy when they bought their liquor and cigarettes for their parties last night,” Angeles said.

But for antismoking campaigner Emer Rojas, 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 be raised even 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 last year.

The new taxes aim to raise P33 billion this year alone, gradually increasing over the coming years.

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

The government first asked Congress to raise taxes on “sin” products as far back as 1997, but a strong lobby by tobacco manufacturers blocked any measures.

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

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  • ajoblam

    I have no complaints against the “sin tax” for tobacco and alcohol, but I propose that the Philippine government create more long term jobs/source of income for the common people. The increase in cigarette and beer prices will most likely negatively affect many “sari-sari” stores in the country. I know several “sari-sari” store owners, and know that cigarettes and alcohol are among the top selling products they have. 

    • Carum Al Dumal

       I doubt it. Just imagine – Sale of Candies and chewing gum will increase! They could even sell Nicorettes! Then they could also start selling slimming teas because all those smokers who are cutting down will be indulging in food to reign in their craving.  Boom time ito for the Sari-sari store. They just don’t know it yet.

      • DOUANE

        Then they could also start selling slimming teas because all those smokers who are cutting down will be indulging in food to reign in their craving. – But one of the best times to smoke is after eating. 

      • Carum Al Dumal

        I presume you are a smoker. Well it’s your choice really.

      • DOUANE

        I am, but I support the sin tax. Already got the taste of it actually. Hehe.

  • TEAM PNOY

    Bakit hindi kasama ang mga paputok sa sin tax? Gindi ba madami namamatay o nasasaktan din sa mga paputok?

  • Maldi2

    Anya ni Panot habang nangangapanya “Hinding hindi tayo magtataas ng buwis sa aking panungkolan, bagkus pag igihin antain ang pangongolekta lamang ng buwis”  Hayan ang pangako ng isang nagyayabang na estudyante na walang alam! Di alam na karamihan sa naninigarilyo at umiinom ay ang mga class D and E, ang mga mahihirap – ginagatasan pa ang mga mahihirap!  WTF!

    • sondo1968

       Mahihirap !! karamihan ng naninigarilyo at uminom?

      mahirap ka na nga mabisyo ka pa?

      pag umiinom ba ang mga mayayaman di ba sila nagbabayad ng kapareho din na ibinabayad ng mga mahihirap?

      so alin dun ang hindi patas.

      kung ayaw mo magbayad ng mataas na tax dahil sa bisyo mo….wag ka magbisyo

      • DOUANE

        Amen to that!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BXBYZ5EB467UVJRXK4IOM5BX4Y Todd

    Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are 2 unnecessary evils anyway. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5TENDBNOVQRJEKFPV76D2N4XUM Socorro

    Come to think about it, this sin tax bill daw will help raise revenues for health services, why does it need to be under the burden of simple Filipinos who smoke? Can the Pinoy administration not render health services to us  by taxing only the rich manufacturers and landlords of tobacco? bakit ordinaryong taxpayer na naman ang magpapasan ng tax na yan? It is very clear, the added tax will raise the price, so yung bumubili na karaniwang mamamayan and not the rich businessmen. Nakakainis na talaga.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ME73SJ2KNVTMNU4JMRMRLRYPVQ zom

      tama lang taasan yan! dapat nga gawing 500 per pack! mga punyeta kayong mga nagyoyosi kayo! di kayo marunong lumugar kung san kayo magpapakamatay! bat na lang hindi tambucho ng sasakyan hithitin nyo ng mapabilis ang buhay nyo! dagdag polusyon pa kyo e!

  • Carum Al Dumal

    Smokers’ gripe is outweighed by non-smokers JOY. Let them GRIPE and PAY for their habit. I feel that a pack of 20 cigs should cost no less than 100 baht.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VNLEL6SV5GHRUCLB3WSZVOZCUA RockA

    I prefer that governments tax people and companies who are making money.  Not those that are just trying to get a little enjoyment out of life.  Get the corruption out of the government and there will be lots of money available for necessary government services.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ME73SJ2KNVTMNU4JMRMRLRYPVQ zom

      tama lang taasan yan! dapat nga gawing 500 per pack! mga punyeta kayong mga nagyoyosi kayo! di kayo marunong lumugar kung san kayo magpapakamatay! bat na lang hindi tambucho ng sasakyan hithitin nyo ng mapabilis ang buhay nyo! dagdag polusyon pa kyo e!

  • Justin Ezequiel

    so magkano na kada bote ng SMB pale pilsen na last week lang ay 22 PhP per bottle?

  • disqusted0fu

    I for one am not for drinking and smoking, but when these ‘sin products’ are being taxed, you just know that the country’s economy is not doing well, in contrary to what the administration is declaring. The president himself should lead the campaign of discouraging his countrymen from smoking and drinking, but he somehow encourages it by doing it himself. Which is why I think that this law is more for the partial recovery of the P2 trillion national budget than for the good health of the Filipinos.

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