Higher liquor taxes

November 01, 2019

ADMITTEDLY, graft-prone and impoverished Philippines is a long way from bringing down the number of deadly vehicular accidents involving drivers under the influence of liquor.

Instead of banning drinking in the country, Senator Pia Cayetano, known for her very strong advocacy of safeguarding the people’s health and welfare, batted for higher liquor taxes.

In her sponsorship speech of Senate Bill 1074, which calls for higher alcohol excise tax rates, she cited the massive social, physical and psychological costs of excessive alcohol consumption.

Cayetano described higher rates on “sin” products as what “our social conscience dictates, guided by our concern for the welfare of families and children, and in pursuit of the public good.”

She said lives are cut short because of people who drink and drive, lamenting that we often hear about innocent people, including children, women and elderly, dying from road accidents.

“In seconds, their lives are forever changed or wasted because a drunk person foolishly decided to take the wheel and drive,” the articulate lady lawmaker from Taguig City pointed out.

As expected, the Department of Finance (DoF) has expressed its full support for the higher alcohol excise rates contained in SB No. 1074.

Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III described Senator Cayetano’s proposal as “well-studied” and called for the bill’s swift approval in the 24-member Philippine Senate.

For his part, DoF Assistant Secretary Antonio Joselito Lambino II said “we are one with…Cayetano in affirming that higher taxes are the most cost-effective way to discourage excessive consumption of ‘sin’ products.”

If top government officials, like Dominguez and Lambino, saw the need to hasten the approval of SB No. 1074, the more reason the people, particularly the poor, should support the measure.