Recto: Nothing wrong with meetings with tobacco firms

Posted at 10/16/12 12:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Ralph Recto shrugs off the alleged similarities between his version of the sin tax bill and the proposal of cigarette giant Philip Morris. 

Recto, who resigned as chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, says his only goal when he drafted the committee report was to spare taxpayers from the burden of having to pay high taxes that will stem from government's inability to collect taxes from cigarette and liquor companies.

"Wala namang ganon e. They made proposals. Ours is much higher. You think they'd want to be taxed by P10 to 15 billion? That's even more than their profit. You're are asking them to collect from the public. Ang magbabayad nito ay taong bayan, hindi sila," he told ANC.

"It is part of the price of the product. They are collecting agents for the government...  The entire industry paid P75 billion last year, P36 billion from cigarettes and P40 billion from alcohol, so for every peso you spent on a cigarette, 40 cents go to taxes," he added.

Recto adds there's nothing wrong with him meeting tobacco companies because he wanted to get the views of all stakeholders.

The group Action for Economic Reforms earlier called for an investigation into Recto, amid allegations he had secret meetings with tobacco companies while drafting the sin tax bill. - ANC