MANILA-- A progressive lawmaker on Wednesday expressed concern over two proposed tax measures that could pack a "double punch" against poor sectors relying on cut-price manufactured goods as their staple meal.
In a statement, Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao was pertaining to House Bill No. 5845 or the Trans-fat Tax and House Bill No. 5636 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.
HB 5845, authored by Masbate Rep. Scott Davis Lanete, seeks to impose taxes on food products containing artificial trans fatty acids produced through hydrogenated oils.
Meanwhile, the TRAIN bill, which already hurdled the lower chamber on third reading approval, seeks to impose excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages by PHP10 a liter as well as excise taxes on petroleum products.
"While TRAIN (bill) will add more taxes on petroleum products, aside from its other features, the trans-fat will be targeting the already desperate choice of the poor for food such as noodles, canned goods and even 'chicheria'," Casilao said.
Casilao said the trans-fat tax proposal discounts that these "junk food" are consumed by the poor because they have no other choice and could not afford the healthy options.
Casilao warned that the measure will drive poor Filipinos to hunger.
The lawmaker pointed that the hunger situation of poor Filipinos outweighs the health concern for this proposal.
"It is unhealthier and more vulnerable to illnesses if the people are malnourished or hungry," he said.
Casilao said lawmakers should instead promote more organic and cottage products and totally prohibit genetically-modified products, which are already banned by many countries, including Russia.
Source: Philippines News Agency