I just wanted to share an essay I wrote for my English class this term and also to start off one of the many political essays that I will be posting in my blog from now on. Hope it doesn't bored you guys that much! :-(
One of the main problems that our country faces today is the number of diseases and also the expenses for our medical needs. A person walking down the street will usually see a person or two smoking a cigarette while chit chatting with a friend of to just simply calm themselves down from the stress they get from work. It may not seem a lot but these smokes actually contribute to the air pollution especially here in Metro Manila. There have also been a lot of police reports on violence that points to alcohol intake as the main cause. The Sin Tax Bill aims to raise the taxes implemented on cigarettes and alcohol to discourage smokers and alcoholics from engaging in those vices and also to raise awareness among the Filipino people about their health. But with the implementation of this bill, a lot of poor tobacco farmers and workers from the distilleries will be losing their main source of income. In my opinion, the Sin Tax Bill will surely benefit the Filipino people because it will lessen their spending on vices and also make them aware of the dangers that it brings to their health.
With the added taxes on the cigarettes and alcohol, the smokers and alcoholics will now get discouraged when buying these “luxuries”. People will not be able to afford it and therefore they will ont for other alternatives or simply stop. With the decrease of the demand and usage of cigarrettes and alcohol, there will also be a decrease in the health related issues and fatalities that are annually being reported. It already is a struggle for the lower class Filipino to afford a box of cigarettes that costs P40 and even also a bottle of cheap local beer that costs around P25. With the implementation of the Sin Tax Bill, an added amount to these would make the people think twice before buying those or they could just simply spend it on something much more of their money's worth.
The tax that is being collected from the Sin Tax Bill will now be used in different government agencies for implementing their projects for public use. To make sure the revenues will be properly used by the government, an earmarking system has been passed by Senator Recto to the Senate where the revenues collected will be divided and will be properly distributed among the government's different sectors for the proper implementation and better quality of their projects (Tan, 2012). With its successful implementation in the future, the Philippines will now be able to achieve one of its Millenium Development Goals (MDG) in 2015 for improving our health care by reducing the tobacco use which can also lead to the eradication of extreme poverty. (Ordinario, 2012).
Enrile also included in the bill that 3% will be annually added to the taxes implemented. (Tan, 2012) This is to make sure that the Filipino people, whether in the lower, middle or upper class, will eventually stop these vices while further preventing the young and poor from learning how to use this since it will be way out of their budget. Since the poor rely heavily on the free healthcare that the government provides them, with of course with the people's taxes, we would be able to lessen the expenses spent for each person and we will be able to place that excess in buying better equipment for the hospitals. It will not only affect people's health but also it will have an effect on the user's daily expenses like food, healthcare, education and other priorities. (Ordinario, 2012) By avoiding the expenses, the user will be able to save some more money to be spent on the daily needs of the family and of himself.
But this bill also has its own downsides to the economy and also to the Filipino people. Being an agricultural country, we highly depend on farming as our main source of national income. The tobacco industry will be losing a lot of profit and revenue with the implementation of this bill and it would mean a small decrease in the agricultural economy on their side. It would be very hard to look for other alternatives to tobacco farming especially because tobacco is being cultivated in the Northern side of the Philippines where it is very hot and dry. There is only a handful of crops that can be replaced with the decrease of tobacco crops and probably would not also gain that much profit.
The tobacco industry is not the only ones who will earn less but most especially at least 18,000 poor farmers who depend on that as their income. There will be a massive job loss in the case of farmers since the industry will start cutting down on expenses with the decrease of the demand in cigarettes. It is not only limited to cigarettes but also the distilleries. With Recto's earmarking proposal, he stated that P250 million will be spent on job trainings for tobacco and alcohol workers who wish to start anew (Tan, 2012).
With the major problems that the country now faces in terms of health, we really need to act on it fast. This bill will help the majority of our people in the long run especially in the decrease of diseases that these vices cause us. It may be depressing for the farmers and also distilleries, but health is wealth and that is what we should all invest in.
Tan, K. (2012, November). Groups see Drilon's sin tax bill as victory, step closer to health goals. Retrieved November 27, 2012 fromhttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/281515/economy/business/groups-see-drilon-s-sin-tax-bill-as-victory-step-closer-to-health-goals
Santos, M. (2012, November). Approval of sin tax bill derailed. Retrieved November 27, 2012 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/310126/approval-of-sin-tax-bill-derailed
Ordinario, C. (2012, October). Why Sin Tax Bill matters in meeting development goals. Retrieved November 27, 2012 from http://www.rappler.com/business/14135-why-sin-tax-role-inthe-mdgs
Tan, K. (2012, November 20). Senate passes sin tax bill adding at least P12 per cigarette pack. Retrieved November 27, 2012 fromhttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/283090/news/nation/senate-passes-sin-tax-bill-adding-at-least-p12-per-cigarette-pack