PHNOM PENH, Cambodia-While lawmakers are debating whether the P40-billion target of the proposed sin tax reform law is too high or too low, for President Benigno Aquino III, the matter is not as important.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, Aquino said the revenue aspect of the measure is secondary to its health target-that is, preventing illnesses and deaths caused by tobacco and alcohol consumption.
"Baka 'yong mga mag-uumpisa pa lang ay hindi na magtuloy na maging abusive sa sin products. Makikinabang ang buong lipunan, 'yong estado," he said.
Aquino said he's happy about the P40 billion revenue target that the Senate has agreed to pass in principle, but that he'd be happier with the original proposal of P60 billion in revenues for the government.
The President has certified the sin tax bill as urgent. That means it is a priority and lawmakers can pass it on second and final readings on the same day.
"Tayo'y nagpapasalamat na tinatalakay na nila at sana mapasa nga sa lalong madaling panahon," he said.