Lawmaker fights moves to amend Sin Tax Law

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A  lawmaker has opposed moves to amend Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Law a year after it was passed, saying it has been a success.

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“The public should be wary of the propaganda being thrown against sin tax reform in the country. Critics of the law should immediately stop mudslinging and just accept the fact that the law has proven to be a big success, not only for the government but for the people as well,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said on Wednesday.

In a meeting with tobacco farmers in San Fernando, La Union, Ridon noted that much of the criticisms being leveled against the Sin Tax Reform Law is part of corporate rivalry in the tobacco industry.

“The law leveled the playing field and allowed Filipino companies to compete against giant foreign-dominated monopolies. Those affected by the law should not use anti-sin tax reform propaganda just to hit their corporate enemies. That is bad business practice and anti-Filipino,” he said.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed the law on December 20, 2012, describing the measure as a “gift to millions of Filipinos who will be covered by the universal health care program, who will benefit from new clinics and hospitals that will be built.”

Leyte Rep. Sergio Apostol earlier called for immediate approval of a bill that seeks to ban monopolies and stop foreign companies from imposing their economic interests in the country.

“This ugly war [in the tobacco industry]is an example of why the immediate approval of the anti-trust bill is to be considered with utmost urgency,” Apostol said.

Ridon said all of the objectives of the Sin Tax Reform Law are being met.

“What are not being met are the objectives of monopolies, which are out to prolong their stranglehold in the tobacco industry in the country. And they appear to be hell-bent in regaining the market share they had lost as a result of the Sin Tax Reform Law by claiming the law is a failure,” he stressed.

“We should not allow this to happen. The interests of the nation and the people cannot take a back seat to the vested interests of a foreign monopoly. We should be on guard and prevent this from even taking root,” Ridon said.

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