2 solons spit out proposed ‘asin tax’

TWO lawmakers have expressed strong objection to the proposed “asin” bill.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said imposing higher taxes on salted products like daing or dried fish will only jack up prices of the so-called poor man’s food.

According to Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on ways and Means, While Congress takes cognizance of the health experts’ warning on negative health impacts of high salt content on our consumption patterns, solons are also concerned that this will constitute a tax on the entire food item.

Department of Health (DOH) had proposed higher taxes on foods that are salty just like the sin taxes.

“There is a world of difference between alcohol and cigarettes versus sugar and salt.

“The House Committee on Ways and Means has been fastidiously studious and diligent in employing taxation as a tool of state policy to achieve national goals beyond generating revenues towards rewarding good investments, providing social benefits to seniors and PWDs and punishing dysfunctional consumption,” Salceda said.

The House leader further explained that a tax on salt will be inflationary and highly regressive.

In the midst of supply problems from African Swine Flu, Salceda said, this would particularly push prices of processed meat products.

Instead of asin bill, Salceda said the committee will study further the junk food tax since the consumptive logic of such eating habit is more obvious and pernicious to a most vulnerable population segment – our young people.

“We are also putting DOH on notice that it can not be passing the ball of health outcomes to tax policy when it has yet to demonstrate and execute affirmative action on health issues such as polio, dengue and other diseases,” Salceda said.

For his part, Zarate said the proposed tax will jack up prices of dried fish, sardines and noodles by hundreds of pesos.

“Is it because it is now Halloween that the Department of Health is spooking us by making a zombie of the now dead and anti-poor Asin Tax?”asked House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Isagani Zarate.

The progressive solon reiterated Bayan Muna’s strong objection to the proposed Asin tax that would impose an excise tax on processed products with salt saying that the bill filed but eventually withdrawn in the 17th Congress would hike steeply the prices of products mostly consumed by poor Filipinos like dried fish, sardines and noodles.

“Sa Asin Tax, maski end product ang bubuwisan ng P1/mg ng sodium o asin sa produkto, dahil per milligram ang kwentada nila ay napakabigat nito sa mahihirap.Maski ipataw lang ito sa ibabaw ng sodium daily dietary allowance na 500 mg per day for adults ay papatak na ilandaang piso na ang daing, tuyo, sardinas o noodles atbp.,” said the progressive solon.

“For example a cup noodle with a 990 mg sodium content would be priced P490 after the daily dietary allowance for adults at 500 mg is subtracted. Likewise a canned sardine which has a 610 mg sodium content would be worth P110 after the enactment of the Asin tax” he added.