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,, 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. 


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