Senator Raffy Tulfo deplored the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) “anti-poor” plan to impose taxes on junk food and other food items next year.
Tulfo stressed that the sector of the poorest of the poor heavily rely on these affordable food items, which they consider as necessity instead of luxury, to survive.
In fact, the poor would even eat chips as viands at times to feed their hungry stomachs.
That’s why the legislator said taxing junk food would only bring much hardships for them.
“Bakit pinagdidiskitahan ng BIR ang mga chichirya at nais nilang patawan ng buwis ang mga ito? This is very anti-poor!” the lawmaker stressed.
“Bakit ‘di nila punteryahin ang mga luxury items?”
“Kung ang pakay nila ay para makalikom ng dagdag kita para sa kaban ng bayan mula sa mga consumer products, bakit ‘di nila punteryahin ang mga luxury items gaya ng mga food supplements, protein bars, energy bars, slimming drinks pati na maging mga cosmetic products?” the senator added.
Under the proposed tax measure, Finance Secretary Ben Diokno said DOF plans to impose a ₱10 per 100 grams or ₱10 per 100 milliliters tax on pre-packaged foods, including confectioneries, snacks, desserts, and frozen confectioneries.
“If the BIR badly wants to boost public revenue, it should focus its attention on food supplements and cosmetic products, which are both multi-billion pesos industries.”
If the BIR badly wants to boost public revenue, Tulfo said it should focus its attention on food supplements and cosmetic products, which are both multi-billion pesos industries.
He said taxing food supplements and cosmetic products will not affect the poor, adding that these products, regardless of the price, will still be bought by the upper bracket of society.
Meanwhile, reacting on the Department of Health’s (DOH) approval of the proposed tax measure to supposedly discourage consumers from buying junk food that they said could lead to obesity and diabetes, Tulfo said DOH should prompt manufacturers to decrease the sodium content of food products they are offering.
He said Singapore managed to do this with manufacturers finding low sodium substitutes for processed food products without heavily affecting the taste.