Avidity very often makes the greedy ones pretext to the reflection of greed. We cannot find a better example of such a greed and rashness as the proposed law of Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, which would increase taxes on cigs and bevarages by more than 1,000 per cent. Supporters of the new bill are easily blinded by the billions of pesos in additional income that higher smoking products taxes will bring to the gov. They also think that contraband is not a crime, essentially a law enforcement problem that simply prevent government of implicit incomes.
What they don’t see is that it is more than lost income that is at risk should sin taxes be raised. From the lessons learned by countries that have absolutely increased their sin taxes, this new measure has increased the rate of violent crimes and even terrorism in those regions and other parts of the world. For the large amount of profits from cigarettes smuggling finance the activities of terrorist organizations. It has been shown that tobacco products smuggling feeds a secret economy that helps many of the most violent actors on the world stage.
If it becomes a legislation, Abaya’s tax new bill will trigger contraband, which could bring on our stores the violence and terrorism that so far we only read about it in foreign news. A 1,000-per cent increase in cigarette taxes is the shocker that may usher in restored terrorism in the Philippines.
In its website, Health Justice Philippines, a Bloomberg awarded for smoking control new activities, provides a public health update that gives a peek into what we mean. Citing as source the 39-page “US report: Terrorists turn to cigar smuggling for funds” of the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC), it says that “illicit trade (on tobacco products) has become a main security defiance in different places around the world and is highly used to fund terrorism.
“Terrorist organizations and other arranged crime groups are utilizing the illegal trade in smoking products because the highly profitable activity is comparatively low-risk compared to other heavily penalized crimes like drug trafficking and human smuggling,” the ITIC report added.