They maybe treading on thin ice but the representatives behind the Sin Tax Bill firmly believe that it will do more good than suspected harm. The bill gets the congress approval after months of deliberation in the House. It is set to cut back government expenses on health care and boost tax revenues for the utilization of a universal medical fund. Cong. Irvin M. Alcala believes in such cause, saying that the bill will be more than just a tax thing and more of a saving grace for poorer Filipinos.
The bill aims to increase the tax collected from tobacco products to subsidize health programs, tobacco farmers and increase revenue for the government. It is also expected to curb tobacco and alcohol consumption, especially those belonging in the lower or no-income class.
Tobacco has been a great income generating industry for the country but the medical bills keep on piling as an estimated 8 out of 10 Filipinos die of smoking-caused complications and diseases. This in turn forces the government to shell out funds for health care of most Filipino smokers who fall under the poverty line. The representative, along with his co-authors, is keen with the details of the bill, saying that it will not prove to be harmless to the tobacco industry and will be a win-win situation for the parties involved. Issues regarding displacing tobacco farmers are also included in the bill: a master plan of providing alternative livelihood for the tobacco farmers.
With this good initiative in mind, the representative-authors are hopeful that the senate will be open to the benefits of the bill. Various organizations have been rallying behind the cause of the bill, including foreign organizations such as the Bloomberg Tobacco Control Initiative.
Senate session is set to resume on July 23rd.