MANILA, Philippines - Workers' groups opposing the sin tax reform bill trooped to the Senate on Monday afternoon, saying the measure would be very burdensome for the poor who drink and smoke to forget their problems.
Sonny Melencio, chair of the Partido Lakas ng Masa, decried the bill as anti-poor even as its Senate committee report recommends lower taxes.
"Ang pahihirapan nito ay ang mahihirap na naman, ang consumers," he said.
"Kaunting ginhawa na lang para makalimutan nila ang mga problema, pahihirapan pa ngayon. Para bang hindi na makaisip nang matino ang gobyerno pagdating sa kabuhayan ng tao."
Melencio said the burden of sin taxes, if the bill is enacted into law, would be placed on consumers and not the big corporations.
However, he proposed a compromise.
"Ibigay n'yo ang sin tax, pero tanggalin n'yo ang VAT," Melencio said, referring to the value-added tax on various commodities.