February 23, 2018, 10:13 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07045 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04297 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.38059 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02443 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03837 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.59409 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0304 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00723 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.58872 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02533 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13159 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06235 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2325 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18295 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 384.03989 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03832 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02429 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.018 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.42605 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12152 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.88202 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.87186 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.71801 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39493 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.3921 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11601 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94226 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17652 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24369 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33858 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52177 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01557 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03825 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01371 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01377 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08533 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89967 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.74122 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14073 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.9296 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15011 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45024 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11584 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.216 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.85824 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 261.23153 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06714 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24329 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.71245 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 713.12103 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9248 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.40936 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01359 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0619 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9413 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.3061 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 77.09572 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.62709 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.26453 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.55496 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00575 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.12565 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.52676 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.96605 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97621 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.45904 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22463 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05848 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0119 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02544 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17647 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31853 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95396 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.47477 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.90946 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15451 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.71398 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62536 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29868 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.76098 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35911 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07494 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22327 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88663 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59477 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15035 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98703 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02611 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00738 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06229 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0629 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11989 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06472 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.82716 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06982 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07256 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.0862 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.12737 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07193 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14866 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2582 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34501 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15536 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02534 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01372 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42597 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 146.36485 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.78074 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 381.75523 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16785 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.87876 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60368 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04586 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0428 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07262 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12717 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.55966 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.06541 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51746 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.67197 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54556 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 156.62766 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 478.3426 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 435.71839 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98465 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04817 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05179 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.85248 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.79474 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.5492 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.94226 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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