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  • COVID-19’s IMPACT ON SIN TAXES AND HEALTH CARE FUNDING

COVID-19’s IMPACT ON SIN TAXES AND HEALTH CARE FUNDING

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By: Atty. Euney Marie Mata-Perez on July 9,2020

The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the community quarantines imposed to curb its spread certainly affected people’s lifestyles. It also affected their spending habits, as seen in the increase in the use of the internet and various online platforms to purchase various essential and nonessential goods. More important, the pandemic highlighted the need for our government to focus on the proper funding of health care facilities in the country.

In addition to the quarantines, liquor bans were imposed to prevent gatherings that might speed up the spread of the coronavirus. This move was not unique to the country; Thailand also imposed a liquor ban beginning in April for the same reason.

It was reported that, because of the ban and the quarantines, the government’s collection of “sin” taxes plunged by almost 100 percent. The quarantines naturally hampered the production and sale of alcohol and tobacco products.

Worldwide, it was reported that the consumption of alcohol products decreased. But based on a survey of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, a group of 12 alcoholic beverage companies, it is not entirely true that such consumption increased during the pandemic. The survey showed that 30 percent were drinking less than before, and 11 percent were drinking more than the average, although the numbers would vary with each country.

The liquor bans and the quarantines, though, did not prevent people from buying alcohol online. With the closure of bars and restaurants, it was almost natural for people to have stocked up on alcohol — that is, if they had the chance to do so before the lockdowns — and resorted to purchasing them online after their initial stock has been consumed.

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