MANILA - Sparing cosmetic procedures from higher taxes is "not fair" when duties on basic goods are increased, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.
The Senate version of tax reform seeks a 10-percent excise tax on "beautification" procedures, among others. It is being reconciled with the House of Representatives' version in a bicameral conference.
"As a matter of principle, as a matter of equity, I will not agree that you tax the small fishermen, you tax the tricycle driver, you give them the burden of a high tax on fuel, and not tax those who can afford and would go for the aesthetic procedure," Drilon told ANC's Headstart.
Taxing cosmetic surgeries will just "divert the resources" of authorities from "more serious taxes" and will generate "only a few millions," former finance undersecretary Romeo Bernardo said.
"It will inconvenience people as well," Bernardo said in a separate interview on ANC's Market Edge.
Bernardo discussed his criticism of the Senate bill, which was first published in an opinion piece for BusinessWorld newspaper. He had said that Senate bill diluted the Department of Finance's "carefully-thought out recipe."
The Senate repealed 66 special laws on tax exemptions, compared to 84 under the House version, he said.
Raising taxes on coal could also burden consumers as this could cause power prices to increase, he said.
Doubling the documentary stamp tax, which could affect loans, mortgages, remittances and money transfers, will amount to "retrograde," he said.
"It adds to the unease of doing business," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers are seeking higher duties on cars, fuel and sugar-sweetened drinks to offset a planned reduction in income tax rates and help fund a P8 trillion infrastructure program.
The government hopes to have the President sign the first package of tax reform into law this year so that it could be implemented in 2018.