Defend the unitary excise tax for cigarettes

Seeking to attain health and revenue objectives, the government and reformers in civil society, the health community, and the private sector pushed for and succeeded in legislating the Sin Tax Law in 2012. The law has put in place substantial reforms: Steeply increasing the excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, annually adjusting the tax rates […]

Symbols and Libingan ng mga Bayani

On a more personal level, the butterfly has become my symbol of remembering and connecting with my departed wife Mae. A few days before Mae passed, I was abroad and had no intimation of an impending tragedy. On the return trip, I had a layover at Singapore’s Changi airport, and some unexplainable thing enticed me […]

Only a comprehensive tax reform will be pro-poor, pro-people

PRESS RELEASE 6 November 2016   “We support the Comprehensive Tax Reform Package (CTRP) being proposed by the Department of Finance for legislation in Congress because these proposals are necessary to correct the structural weaknesses of current taxes and tax administration systems and plug the leakages in government revenues. These are the same revenues that […]

Duterte plays a tired naughty game

By now, we should realize that President Rodrigo Duterte’s angry and shocking words are not to be taken literally. Time and again, he has issued statements that are jokes or exaggerations. Riding a jet ski to the Spratlys to plant the Philippine flag? Slaughtering three million people? My foot! Yet, the netizens and the media, […]

Partnerships vs poverty

A storm is raging as we enter the last quarter of 2016. A stormy Christmas ahead? The unabated killings arising from the war on drugs. The ranting on the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations. The muckraking in the chambers of Congress. The loud threat of the House Speaker to scuttle the […]

The virtues of the Sin Tax Law retold

The story about the sin tax reform experience has a familiar ring to it: the tale of the universe conspiring to make a good idea happen. Indeed it happened, and it happened in a hurry. In the House of Representatives, the proposed measure carried its unique identifier, House Bill No. 5727, entitled, “An act restructuring […]