Ex­cise tax hike on al­co­hol, to­bacco could spur right spend­ing

Watchmen Daily Journal - - BUSINESS -

A la­bor leader in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal said in­creas­ing the ex­cise tax on al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts could en­cour­age work­ers to spend their money wisely.

“We sup­port this move be­cause buy­ing al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts could re­duce the work­ers’ in­come,” said Wen­nie San­cho, sec­re­tary gen­eral of Gen­eral Al­liance of Work­ers Asso­ciations (GAWA), on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

This could re­duce vices and pro­mote healthy life­style among work­ers, and in­stead of spend­ing their in­come for cig­a­rettes and al­co­hol, they should have more sav­ings for their fam­ily, he added.

San­cho also said that not spend­ing for these “un­nec­es­sary” goods would also re­duce com­plaints on low in­come among work­ers.

On Mon­day, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte an­nounced that he agreed to cer­tify as ur­gent the two mea­sures meant to raise ex­cise tax on al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts to fund the gov­ern­ment’s Uni­ver­sal Health Care (UHC) pro­gram.

Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said this per­tains to Se­na­tor Manny Pac­quiao’s Se­nate Bill No. 1599, which sought to fur­ther in­crease the ex­cise tax on to­bacco prod­ucts.

Un­der the mea­sure, the cur­rent cig­a­rette tax rate of P30 per pack will in­crease to P60 per pack. This is aside from the an­nual in­crease of 9 per­cent from the cur­rent 4 per­cent in­crease in ex­cise tax per year.

San­cho said the mea­sure would fur­ther en­cour­age con­sumers, in­clud­ing min­i­mum wage earn­ers, to spend money wisely.

He pointed out a huge por­tion of the in­come of some work­ers go to vices or un­nec­es­sary spend­ing like al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts.

With higher sin taxes, the la­bor group is op­ti­mistic that work­ers will pri­or­i­tize the ba­sic needs of their fam­i­lies, he added.

San­cho also urged as­sur­ance from the gov­ern­ment that the rev­enues from higher ex­cise tax on these prod­ucts will re­ally be spent for its in­tended pur­pose.

(Erik De Cas­tro, Reuters photo)

A group of to­bacco grow­ers yes­ter­day de­scribed as "wor­ri­some," pro­pos­als to fur­ther in­crease cig­a­rette taxes.

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