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Tobacco group commends Palace move vs higher taxes

The Palace is making the right move by rejecting new or higher taxes in the immediate term, which could make an impact on the tobacco industry, the Philippine Tobacco Growers Association Inc. (PTGA) said Tuesday.

The PTGA was reacting to President Benigno Aquino III’s rejection of the proposal by the New York-based Standard and Poor’s to boost the government’s revenue intake as a prelude to a credit upgrade.

PTGA president Winston Uy noted that Philippine tobacco and alcohol commodities are already some of the most heavily taxed products in the world.

“As experienced in other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong, their governments just lose revenue by over-taxing alcohol and cigarettes as counterfeit and smuggled products dramatically increase in number as a result,” Uy said.

Uy added that an increase in excise tax rates will negatively affect the livelihood of some 50,000 tobacco farmers located principally in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, and Isabela.

In March, however, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said raising sin taxes shoots two birds with one stone: monopoly and tax efficiency. — PE/VS, GMA News

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