300,000 sari-sari store owners join petition against ‘sweet’ tax
Some 300,000 low-income patrons and sari-sari stores and carinderias owners have forged a petition against the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), which is part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) bill that is now pending in the Senate.
Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners (Pasco), who led the signature drive, said the additional excise tax on SSB, which includes soft drinks and powdered juices, is “anti-poor” and will “effectively destroy the livelihood of millions of Filipinos”.
“We understand and support our government’s need to raise money for its various social and infrastructure programs to help improve the lives of the Filipino people and sustain the country’s economic growth, [but] this bill is anti-poor and will make small micro-retailers, consumers, sugar and coffee farmers, and manufacturing plant workers carry the burden,” Pasco President Vicky Aguinaldo said in an open letter.
Based on its own estimates, some 80 percent of the consumers of affected products are low-income earners, while the covered goods constitute 40 percent of the income of sari-sari store owners.