Workers slam Aquino for signing Sin Tax into law

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Pres. Noynoy Aquino today for signing the Sin Tax reform bill into law , saying the chief executive is not concerned about the people’s health but about higher revenues for paying the foreign debt.

KMU cited the government’s scheme to privatize public hospitals, signaled by the public bidding for the Philippine Orthopedic Center which started last November.

“Pres. Aquino has the gall to talk about weaning people away from smoking and drinking and about women’s reproductive health at the same time that he is privatizing government hospitals,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The privatization of government hospitals shows that this government is not concerned about the people’s health in approving the Sin Tax Bill,” he added.

“Pres. Aquino wants to make it appear that sin taxes will go to the government’s health programs so that he can reduce existing state subsidy to health services and allocate more and more subsidy to payments for the country’s foreign debt,” he said.

“In the end, it’s not the Filipino workers and people who will benefit from this tax measure but foreign lending institutions who will rake in bigger debt payments and politicians who will have more money to pocket,” he added.

The labor leader said the sin tax is part of a package of measures that will increase workers’ and people’s payments in the coming year.

He cited the approval of Administrative Order 31, which increases payments for government documents, of water and power rate hikes, of fare hikes in the MRT and LRT, and of premium hikes in the Social Security System and PhilHealth.

The government is studying the possibility of imposing a text tax, toll fees are scheduled to increase again next year, and hospital fees will surely increase with the privatization of government hospitals.

“The Aquino government is not providing immediate relief to workers who are suffering from low wages and incomes, high prices and taxes, indebtedness, and unemployment,” Labog said.

“Instead, this government is increasing the burden on the backs of workers and the poor. It is steadily earning the ire of the Filipino workers and people,” he added.

“These measures are not Christmas gifts for the Filipino workers and people. These are proof that Aquino is a Christmas Grinch,” he said.

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