May 27, 2018, 10:03 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.06987 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04394 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03405 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46707 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02507 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03386 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03804 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.58684 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03178 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00718 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.30759 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02521 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13049 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06941 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2997 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18862 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 380.82557 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.038 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02456 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01888 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.92087 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1215 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.23245 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.69241 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.79018 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41871 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.37645 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12092 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.9416 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.20987 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25394 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33993 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51779 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01623 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03907 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01422 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01425 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08823 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89024 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 171.23835 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13955 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.93875 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14924 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45305 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11993 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.23264 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.18261 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 268.49914 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06761 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28921 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.52235 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 800.64676 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.00476 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.38368 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01348 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08195 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.91839 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2975 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 77.23036 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.96595 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.12003 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.46376 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00575 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0156 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.24805 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.41735 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.6285 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.00552 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.59102 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23569 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05799 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0118 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02586 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18008 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31929 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.99391 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.77516 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.76412 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15373 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.73388 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.65627 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29618 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.63553 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37196 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07566 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23683 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.82899 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59717 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15404 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06962 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02745 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00732 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0621 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06201 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19897 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06975 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 108.10348 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06924 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0751 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.17631 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.13468 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07134 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15092 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25547 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34155 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16566 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02546 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01422 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42241 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.32471 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.69051 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 397.78391 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16644 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.79608 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23678 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60662 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0483 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04363 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08961 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1286 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56886 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.27563 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49705 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.0291 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5933 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 151.83565 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1494.25528 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 433.30797 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03595 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04914 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.63667 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05136 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.63667 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.926 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.75366 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23681 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 98.716 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88415 Zimbabwe dollar

TRAIN’s token tobacco taxes

Here is a lesson on economic elasticities that  either our lawmakers are just too stupid to learn or that they are simply too smart for their own good that they brazenly violate it by pandering to insidious vested interests. Using the recently passed imposition of humongous and heavy-handed systemic taxes expressly inundating the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) to fatten and fund the coffers of the Duterte administration, allow us a brief skinny on economic elasticities as exemplified by the token taxes on tobacco products insidiously and rather belatedly inserted under TRAIN by the bicameral committee that had its last say.

The initiatives for TRAIN had its roots in a tax reform movement where advocates of true reform noted structural inequities. They noted that the percentage of taxes withdrawn from and paid by lower wage earners exerted heavier burdens than did the tax impositions on earners who had earned exponentially more. The old and virtually ancient and anachronistic tax brackets produced economic inequities that not only unfairly burdened those who could least afford it but perpetuated the curse of economic non-exclusivity.

The effectively repressive phenomenon was exemplified by the ballyhooed growth of GDP where the ranks of the unemployed either grew or at best stagnated, the percentage below the poverty line remained substantially the same and the hunger indices remained elevated as economic welfare bypassed most. While the culprits were legion one definitive cause was an anachronistic income taxation system.

While the previous administration threw all it could to block the re-bracketing of tax bands claiming that it would cost the former government a tax loss of as much as P30 billion, the opposition groups then established it as integral to their alternative platforms. That, unfortunately, politicized the initiative.

As noble as its foundations were, the reform agenda was shelved until plans to reinvigorate a relatively moribund infrastructure spending program was established as a centerpiece economic initiative. Note that the previous administration promised that rather than impose new taxes it would simply plug tax loopholes. While government liquidity grew as a result, spending for productive infrastructure slowed prompting today’s knee-jerk response.

A massive infrastructure initiative however needed equally massive funds and that meant raising taxes from a public already heavily burdened with some of the highest tax impositions in the region. Add government inefficiencies, pork barrel scandals and corruption, and it is easy to understand why any program to impose higher taxes might be met with criticism.

To imbue the Duterte tax plan with acceptability the old reform agenda on re-bracketing income taxes for lower income earners was woven into its fiber. Higher taxes were also envisioned for sin products and enterprises that impact negatively on the quality of life of constituents.

These included toxic products such as tobacco, unhealthy sugar-laden beverages and environmentally destructive activities such as mining.

Right-minded advocates seized the opportunity where taxation might affect both supply and demand, and eventually, aberrant consumption. Taxes on mining were raised on the presumption of “polluters pay.” For deadly, carcinogenic and toxic tobacco products anti-smoking advocates presented both scientific and social findings to Congress that proposed incremental tobacco taxes of as much as an increase of 60 percent on top of the anemic taxes already imposed.

There is no dearth of data on the deadly effects of tobacco both on health and on the economy. From an analysis of the studies on the influence and economics of the local tobacco industry there is absolutely nothing beneficial whether in the short or long term. Whether to the agricultural minority that profits from such toxic poisons to the public gradually dying from its fatal effects and the politicians whose pockets are fattened from the millions of lobby money.

During the hearings on TRAIN, notably from those conducted by the Senate, well intentioned anti-smoking groups had lent all their expertise, research and findings in order to advocate a 60 percent increase in tobacco taxes based on economic elasticities that determine the minimum levels at which smokers might kick the habit and opt to live longer. 

Unfortunately, advocates were given the runaround by the Senate. That was unfortunate because the counterpart bill at the lower house completely ignored the initiative altogether. When both chambers passed their individual versions there was absolutely nothing on tobacco taxes.

Until an insidious and illegal insertion was slipped in at the bicameral level. The tobacco tax inserted was for a token P2.50 per pack.

All tax measures must originate from the House of Representatives and there approved by its plenary. A tax measure cannot originate at the Bicameral Committee level and be insidiously inserted without passing House debate, scrutiny and ratification. The Bicameral Committee reconciles differences. It does not spawn much less should it conjure from thin air sans public debate.

Worse, the incremental tax inserted is far below the 60 percent increase that would reduce the number of smokers following tobacco’s price elasticities. A price elastic product is one whose demand shifts given a price threshold. Given a current excise of P30 per pack, an 8.33 percent increment is mighty curious. The lawmaker who slipped in the P2.50 tax either does not understand his economics or has an hidden agenda that panders to interests un-named. Given that the number of smokers increase by as much as 200,000 a year, do the math.
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