Press release – Action for Economic Reforms – 17 November 2012

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will follow the footsteps of his father former President Ferdinand Marcos into notoriety and the dustbin of our history with his opposition to the sin tax bill.

This was the assertion of civil society and sin tax reform advocates as they blasted Marcos for his continued support for the tobacco industry in Wednesday’s interpolation of the bill.

According to Jo-Ann Latuja of Action for Economic Reforms (AER), both Marcoses have mastered the art of deceiving the public.

“While Ferdinand tried to hoodwink the people by claiming that Martial Law was good for the country, Bongbong would like us to believe that ridiculously low taxes for tobacco are good for the country,” said Latuja.

“Ferdinand Marcos was insensitive to the many that died from the oppression during martial law,” Latuja also said. “His son Bongbong is also dismissive of the thousands who will die because of smoking-related diseases.”

By declaring Martial Law, former President Marcos divided the nation. “Today, Bongbong Marcos is dividing the Filipino people by pitting tobacco farmers against the Filipino population especially the young and poor.”

In Wednesday’s interpellation, members of civil society noticed that Marcos was seen conferring with members of his support team from the tobacco industry.

“Maybe the Senate ethics committee could also look into this. Why is a Senator of the land pushing for a sin tax bill favorable to the tobacco lobby with a support group composed of tobacco industry people? The Senate owes its allegiance to the people who voted for them rather than a specific vested interest,” Emer Rojas of the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) said.

He also said that the population, including tobacco farmers, the young and the poor, can benefit from better tobacco taxation.

“Everyone, even tobacco farmers, can benefit from better health coverage. Specifically for the farmers, they can get financing for their alternative livelihood and welfare,” said Rojas.