Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sin Tax Bill: Potent Revenue for Health Care in the Philippines

One of the issues in the government today is about the Sin Tax Bill that has yet to be approved. There are multiple arguments that balances the approval of the said bill. But the senate is confident that the bill will be passed out sooner or later. So what is Sin Tax?

House Bill 5272, or the Sin Tax Bill, aims to change the existing taxes imposed on sin products - alcohol and tobacco goods. Higher taxes results to higher costs are seen as potential revenue that will help fund the Universal Health Care Program of the administration from the revenue of the "sin" products, whose adverse effects are mostly borne by the poorer segments of society.

Sate government favor sin taxes because they generate enormous amount of revenue and are usually easily accepted by the general public because they are indirect taxes that will only affect to those who use the products. This kind of added tax will typically be one of the first taxes recommended by lawmakers to help fill the budget gap.

When I watched the news regarding Sin Tax Bill, according to the department of Health (DOH), Philippines has an estimated 17.3 million tobacco consumers. An average Filipino consumes about 1, 073 cigarette sticks annually, while the smokers in the region consumes less than a thousand sticks yearly. It is to no surprise that this kind of number shows since the price of cigarette in our country is very low.

It is true that the added revenue from the "sin" products can be used for the medical sector. This also be a solution for a Filipino Healthy living since smoking is responsible for the 71% of lung cancer death in the world and is the leading form of cancer in the Philippines. Statistics shows that 10 Filipino die every hour because of smoking. A 10 percent increase in tobacco taxes will reduce the number of smokes by two million by 2016 according to DOH. This is a significant decline in the number of smokers will also reduce the number of smoking related deaths from direct smoking and inhaling second hand smoke. On the other hand. drinking alcohol, even though effects are relatively less severe health-wise than smoking, it still posed a number of costs on the individual and to the society.

Sin Tax Bill aims to save the lives of the poor and to prevent the future holders- children- from taking up smoking when the increased tax is implemented. At the same time, the said bill will be able to improve the healthcare service deliver to cater to the poorest of the country. This will also reach the very places that needs medical healthcare more.

This bill will help a lot of people and society alike. If the people fear that the tobacco farmers will lose jobs, the government have prepared a plan or solution for that. It is said that 80% of the production of raw tobacco will be used for export and 20% will be used of domestic use.

If people say that the proposed bill is anti poor, my say is that, the bill will be used not only for the poor, but for the poorest of the poor that really needed medical care.

If the anti sin tax bill group says that the bill is against the workers, my say is that, how could one work and earn a living if the health of the smoker and the other people around him is on jeopardy?


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