Mandanas urged to legislate full tobacco tax reforms

The Action for Economic Reforms (AER) is one with Rep. Hermilando Mandanas, chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, in passing a sin tax bill to raise government revenue from tobacco and alcohol taxes toward financing health and other development objectives.

Nevertheless, we urge him not to unduly hasten the process and to ensure that the full reform measures contained in the bills sponsored by other Representatives are studied thoroughly and incorporated into the consolidated bill that will be debated when Congress resumes in July.

Pro-tobacco solons wrong on retaining cigarette excise tax

Last week, Representatives Victor Ortega (1st District La Union) and Eric Singson (2nd District Ilocos Sur) defended tobacco interests, arguing that there is no need to correct the excise tax on tobacco and cigarettes. They repeated the call earlier made by Phillip Nelson, President of Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corp. This if-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it argument is wrong. The system is really in shambles: the rates are not keeping up with inflation; some brands are still taxed based on their 1996 prices; and we have a complicated four-rate tax structure.

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