'Very strong lobby' vs cosmetic surgery tax in bicam, says Drilon
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said there is a “very strong lobby” in the bicameral conference committee against the imposition of excise taxes on cosmetic surgeries purely for aesthetic purposes.
Drilon, who pushed for its inclusion in the tax reform bill, said the joint congressional panel has not yet finalized the issue.
The Senate introduced the specific provision, which was not present in the House version.
“The bicam has not come to an agreement. I stand on the basis that we should impose a cosmetic tax as a matter of principle. The House has taken a position that a cosmetic tax should not be imposed,” Drilon told reporters on Wednesday, December 6.
Asked about it, Drilon said there is intense lobbying from groups affected by the proposal but he refused to identify them.
“Certainly, yes, may nagla-lobby (some are lobbying). There’s a very strong lobby,” Drilon said.
The senator said somebody tried to talk him out of his proposal but maintained it should be taxed if there is an increase on taxes in fuel, which would affect the masses.
“Yes, may kumausap, pero ang sabi ko (somebody talked to be but I said) as a matter of principle, we should impose the cosmetic tax because we are increasing the excise tax on fuel, which affects everybody,” Drilon said.
“'Yung pangunahing bilihin, tataas dahil dito. 'Yung mga magsasaka, 'yung mga mangingisda (The prices of basic goods will increase because of this. The farmers, the fishermen). The poorer sector of the society will be affected, so why can we not impose a tax on an activity, which is purely luxury?” he added.
The specific provision was in the committee report prepared by Senate ways and means committee chair Juan Edgardo Angara but was removed during the period of amendments. It was Drilon who motioned to restore it, with the vote of the majority.
In an earlier discussion on the floor, Drilon cited the “extravagant” wedding in Paris, apparently referring to that of Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho.
"Labag talaga sa kalooban ko. I cannot accept this, that we will not impose tax, especially when we read about some extravagant wedding abroad. $2 million ginastos [sa] opera house sa Paris, tapos 'di natin bubuwisan? 'Di naman tama," Drilon earlier said.
(It really goes against what I believe in. I cannot accept this, that we will not impose tax, especially when we read about some extravagant wedding abroad. $2 million spent on an opera house in Paris, and yet we won't impose tax on cosmetic surgeries? That's not right.) – Rappler.com