There’s a move to increase the excise tax on petroleum products but ‘Ako Bicol’ party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe believes that this was ‘pro-poor’; thus, he proposed that a ‘vanity tax’ be imposed instead on beauty products and services.
According to Batocabe, imposing a 10 to 30 percent excise tax on cosmetic products and beauty services will be a better alternative to having an increase in fuel products.
“‘Pag tinaas mo ang gasolina, tataas ang bilihin, tataas ang presyo ng transportasyon, tataas po ang ating mga pagkain dahil ‘yan ay konektado sa lahat,” the lawmaker said.
“Ang lipstick P300, dagdagan mo ng P30. Siguro naman ang isang taong nagli-lipstick ay di naman magiging pabigat ang P30 sa kaniya, para sa isang lipstick. O ang makeup, dagdagan mo ng 10 porsiyento, di rin pabigat. Kung talagang mabigat na ‘wag ka na mag-makeup, mabubuhay ka naman.”
Batocabe’s proposed increase in excise taxes will cover not just beauty products like lipstick and makeup but also beauty services such as facelift, liposuction, whitening treatment, etc.
He thinks that the proposal is reasonable because increasing the prices of petroleum products will have a negative impact on everything, not just fares but also the prices of commodities whereas the vanity tax will mostly affect the rich since they are the ones who are more likely to buy beauty products and avail of aesthetic services.
But the proposal wasn’t as happily accepted as Batocabe had expected. According to Zyra Templo who works as receptionist, “Mabibigatan po siyempre. ‘Yung binibili naman po naming makeup [ay] ‘yung hindi naman po ganoon kamahal. So ‘pag madagdagan po, magkakaroon po ng tax, baka hindi na rin po kami madalas bumili.”
Temple is just one of the workers who would be affected by the proposed vanity tax as she works in an industry where putting on make-up and ‘looking presentable’ are required.
A dermatologist also belies Batocabe claim that looking beautiful through cosmetic products and services is a luxury. According to Dr. Jean Marquez, “Ang isang manggagawa ba na gustong mag-abroad at gustong magpatanggal ng tattoo, ‘yan ba ay vanity? Ang isang nag-aasam ba na maging flight attendant na kailangan ng whitening treatments para sa binti, ‘yan ba ay vanity?”
“Hindi lahat ng nagpapaganda or may gustong mag-improve ng balat at ng itsura o kanilang hitsura o pangagatawan ay dahil sa vanity at mayayaman lamang.”