HOUSE leaders have expressed support to a proposal of a party-list lawmaker imposing a 10 to 30 percent excise tax on cosmetic products and services such as liposuction, facelift, nose job, among others.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo “Rodito” Albano III and Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo said they favor the proposal of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the Party List Coalition (PLC), to impose a vanity tax instead of increasing the tax on petroleum products that will only hurt the poor.
“I support aesthetic tax and other taxes like tax on sweetened beverages because these products are usually used or consumed by those who are in the higher income earners level,” said Abu in support of Batocabe’s proposal who argued that people who want to be “attractive, good-looking and gorgeous” should pay for the cost.
“Fuel excise tax will affect all sectors and will have a ripple effect on products and services which will impact most the low income earners and the poor. Public transportation and of goods will be hit the most,” Abu stressed.
Albano, a senior member of the 12-man House contingent to the Commission on Appointments (CA), agreed that increasing the tax on gasoline and imposing a P6-per-liter levy on diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and bunker fuel, which is used to produce electricity, should no longer be entertained as the burden of the proposal cascades directly to the pockets of the marginalized and less fortunate people.
“We should push for vanity tax because that is what we call tax on luxury,” Albano stressed.
For his part, Castelo said “ordinary people and hardworking employees should not carry the burden of paying higher taxes.”
“Instead we should take a second look of people engaging in vanity,” said Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila development.
Batocabe said people should pay for the cost of being physically beautiful as alternative to additional tax on petroleum products that is aimed at generating P180 billion a year, which Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, who chairs the House committee on ways and means is more than enough to offset the P130 billion projected to be lost from the proposed reduction in individual income tax rates or P50-billion surplus.
Batocabe explained that the imposition of additional taxes on petroleum products would result in higher fares, energy, labor and transport cost for consumer products, which in turn would translate into higher consumer prices.
The government is seeking to increase the excise tax on gasoline from P4.35 per liter to P10.
There is no such tax at present on diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and bunker fuel.
Cua’s panel is now assessing the impact of higher fuel taxes on the cost of energy, labor and transportation, and on consumer products.