Liquor tax hike to curb domestic violence: health group

MANILA — A group of health advocates on Friday urged lawmakers to pass a tax hike on alcoholic beverages to curb cases of domestic violence against women.

In a statement, the Sin Tax Coalition said alcohol plays a big role in domestic violence especially among poor families.

In a Senate hearing Thursday, Olivia Limpe-aw, president of the Destilleria Limtuaco and Co., noted that increase in alcohol taxes “would be detrimental to the poor because it would limit alcohol consumption and take away what gives them satisfaction”.

“In cases wherein poor families are short on cash, the wife would be able to discourage her husband from buying alcohol as she holds the purse in the family,” Limpe-aw said.

Dr. Maricar Limpin, chair of the Steering Committee Philippine Coalition on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, cited that her father resorted to violence whenever he was not given money to buy liquor.

“Once an alcoholic wants to drink, they will do anything in order to get what they want, even to the point of hurting family members. Alcohol use is why there are so many battered women among the poor, and we must not belittle the idea of taxing these products, because they do not do any good, particularly to the poor,” Limpin said.

Meanwhile, Senate Ways and Means committee chairperson Pia Cayetano said a lot of women are battered and even killed due to problems triggered by alcohol consumption.

“We are here to promote responsible drinking, and we cannot assume that every household is managed the way you mention, wherein the woman holds the purse, and that they would be limited in their drinking,” Cayetano said.

Aside from curbing cases of domestic violence, the Sin Tax Coalition said the measure will provide an additional source of funding for the Universal Health Care Law implementation.

The next Senate hearing on the alcohol tax bill is on September 5.

Cayetano said her committee will also tackle the proposal to raise taxes on heated tobacco products and electronic cigarettes in the same hearing.  Ma. Teresa Montemayor / PNA –