The Cost of Sin in the Philippines

The cost of sinning is going up in the Philippines this coming January 1, 2013. I’m not talking about “bar fines” at some strip joint in Angeles City. I’m referring to the the price of smokes and booze.  Dave and The Red Horse

After 16 years of debate (remember, we’re on Filipino Time) Republic Act (RA) No. 10351 (the Sin Tax Reform Bill) was passed. But on to the important stuff. How much will that bottle of Red Horse at your local talabahan cost now? Don’t ask any of the local servers in Iloilo City that question. None of them know. No one, aside from Lex “Luthor” at the UR Zone has any idea what the sin tax even is. 

My American expat friend, Scott B., and I have posed that question in many establishments throughout “The City of Love” and no one knows the answer. According to the Manila Bulletin, mb.com.ph, that bottle of Red Horse that used to cost you 22.33 pesos will now cost you about two pesos more, P24.02.  The premium stuff like San Miguel Pale Pilsen will go from P27.9 to P29.57.

Know I don’t know where you drink your favorite bottle of beer in the Philippines, but I figure my Pilsen will go from P28 to P30. Who charges 27.9 pesos anyway? And Red Horse, which costs P22 now will probably go to P24, I estimate.  

What about cigarettes? To be honest, I don’t care. I’ve never smoked in my whole life but for you puffers out there the Manila Bulletin reports that the prices of a stick of premium cigarettes, like Marlboro, will increase by 49 percent next year to P2.23 from the present P1.50, while the lower grade cigarettes, like Fortune, will increase by 8 percent to P1.22 per stick from the current P0.70.

“Today, we signed at last a law that will serve as an early Christmas gift to millions of Filipinos,” Aquino stated in Filipino. The president has also expressed concerned in the past regarding the young age that pinoys and pinays start smoking and hopes the new tax will help curtail this.

Mr. Aquino, a smoker himself,  has no plans to quit the habit since it helps him relieve stress.  And yeah, that’s me in the photo above at the Manggahan Festival in Guimaras where I’ve been known to drink more than a bottle or two of San Mig. But I’m not the president of a country, OK? Cut me some slack. 


14 thoughts on “The Cost of Sin in the Philippines

    • I was, Fearless Frank. As you know when I go to the Manggahan Festival I have only one purpose: to party! I had a great time there last year when you were visiting. Hope to see you at the next one.

  1. no matter how much they hike the price on booze and smokes people are still going to find a way to get those extra two bucks. I can understand them wanting to stop kids from smoking, but I have a feeling that’s going to make them want to smoke even more. If you tell me I can’t do something, chances are i’m going to do to show you I can…

    • I agree, Art. People will continue to drink and smoke despite the tax hike. There will certainly be a rise in smuggled cigarettes, the President of the Senate and other legislators have already stated that. Smuggled cigarettes means no tax income at all.

      I have to wonder why the President will not stop smoking if he wants the youth of the nation to quit smoking? I can’t figure that one out.

  2. Hey Dave,

    Do you have any idea when the previous posts button will be working again in many of your past months postings. At present, only the posts that come up when I click on a month are accesable, previous posts, is not highlighted in order to click on them. I still have quite a few months left in order to get to present, and dont want to miss anything.

    • Sorry you’re having trouble with the past posts, Bill. I’ve just checked it out and it seems to be working for me. The previous post is in a very light color for the new theme and when you hover over it, it will give you “the finger,” so to speak. I’ve also included more posts you can view on one page via the “Posts from the Past” function on the right sidebar. Please let me know if the previous posts is working for you. Thanks.

    • Well, Ice Man, Ramon Tulfo, in the Inquirer News, states the following: “In signing Republic Act 10351, commonly known as the “sin tax” law, President Noy said its first year of implementation would ‘liberate more Filipinos from the vices of smoking and drinking’.
      How ironic of the President to say that since he is known to be a chain smoker with no immediate plans of quitting the habit”.

      If your asawa’s relatives are heavy smokers and want to continue their habit, they’ll probably have easy access to cheap smokes that will be smuggled in.

  3. Dave,
    I don’t believe it will have any affect at all, especially the alcohol. Not a big difference. Cigarettes i could careless, but i think the president should set a good example as a role model. Have a nice and safe Christmas

    • There might just be more shared glasses of Red Horse, PapaDuck. I see a lot of locals that order a big bottle at a table and share it. It might add 12-15 pesos to a bucket of beer, six bottles, something a “rich kano” could afford.

      And yes, the cigarette tax does not impact me at all since I’m a non-smoker. I, too, believe, that the President would be setting a better example if he quit but he has no plans to give up he habit since it helps him relieve stress on the job.

  4. He would set a great example but I think the kids would ignore his message about smoking. A PSA with a singer or actor the kids relate too might help,but I doubt they’ll call Justin Bieber,hahaha…

  5. Dave…

    first of all i would like to greet you and melinda a merry merry christmas and happy new year wish all the next succeeding years
    become successful. all i can say cigarettes and alcohol is not good to the health.. avoid these kinds of habits.

    • Thank you, Anne. Melinda and I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life and don’t have any alcohol in the house. But I do occasionally have a San Miguel Pale Pilsen with my expat friends. Take care.

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