Solons diss 'vanity tax'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2017 05:32 PM

MANILA - Some congressmen don't find the proposal of Ako Bicol Party List Representative Rodel Batocabe to impose a so-called "vanity tax" or taxes on beauty products too attractive.

Over the weekend, Batocabe's office pitched for tax on beauty products in lieu of imposing tax on fuel products, which will create "a cascading effect that will impart an unavoidable encumbrance all the way down to Filipinos below the poverty line."

But 1-ANG EDUKASYON Party List Rep. Salvador Belaro doubts the proposal is even fair on women and would want it studied more closely.

"Doon sa principle of taxation, di lang dapat equitable; dapat fair. Fair ba ito sa ating mga kababaihan? We should really reconsider taxing beauty products, kasi marami tayong kababayang magrereklamo diyan," he said.

(In the principle of taxation, it has to be not just equitable, but fair. Is this fair to the women? We should really reconsider taxing beauty products because many of our countrymen would complain about this.)

Meanwhile, ABS Party list Representative Michael de Vera pointed out that some people need these products and services for their work, such as TV personalities, models, and broadcast reporters.

He said these people may be exempted from the proposed additional tax. However, he said that it may be imposed on those who do not need these products for the trade.

"Siyempre kailangan nila sa trade nila that they look good on TV, so pwede siguro yan dahil kailangan yan sa kanilang hanapbuhay. Pwede tax exemption yan, pero yung tao na di involved sa trade na yun pwede sila patawan ng excise tax," he said, then reiterating Belaro's call that the proposal be looked into more closely.

(Of course, they need to look good on TV for their trade, so that is permissible because they need it for their work. That could be a tax exemption, but for the people whose use of cosmetics is not involved in their trade, may we can impose the excise tax on them.)

For PBA Party List Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar, government is better off taxing products or services that are non-essential and which maybe excessive. He believes beauty products is essential to many people.

"We have to know ano ba ang excess, ano pleasure. That's something we have to tax kasi that's something na di naman essential sa buhay natin. That's just an extra. Nakikita natin in this case beauty products, it can be considered essential. Di ba a lot of people rely and use (it), talagang talagang ginagamit ang beauty products every day," he said.

(We have to know what is excess, what is pleasure. That is something we have to tax because that is simply something that is not essential in our lives. That's just an extra. We see in this case that beauty products can be considered essential. A lot of people rely on it and use it, really use these beauty products everyday.)

Sambar added, an example of a product that is not necessary for everyday life are electronic gadgets, like mobile phones and television sets, which he said, some people have several of. For this, he is instead eyeing the imposition of taxes on excess gadgets.

"Rather than beauty products tax or a vanity tax, I'd rather propose an electronic excess tax, 'yung di naman essential na bumibili lang tayo. Part of this tax measure that I will propose is that some of it, it will go to a fund that we can find a way to dispose of these materials. This is something we have to study, the definition."

(Rather than a beauty products tax or a vanity tax, I'd rather propose an electronic excess tax, those that are not essential but we just buy. Part of this tax measure that I will propose is that some of it will go to a fund that we can find a way to dispose of these materials. This is something we have to study, the definition.)

Apart from the three lawmakers, who are Batocabe's colleagues in the Party List Coalition at the Lower House, netizens had also been vocal in the opposition of the 'vanity tax' proposal, with the hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty trending across social media platforms.