Yesterday I went to the mall and bought some drugstore makeup that was on sale.  The matte lipstick, micellar water, and foundation were very affordable; I only paid about PhP800, or USD16. Now imagine the prices of cosmetics and beauty services increased by anywhere from 10 to 30% in taxes!

There is a proposed bill with an amendment on excise taxes being charged on non-essential goods (like jewelry, perfumes, and other luxury items), by Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe. In her blog, Liz Lanuzo of Project Vanity quotes him as stating, “…Any increase of price for beauty and cosmetic products and services shall only be shouldered by those who choose to and can afford it,” and “…Raising the 20 percent excise tax on perfume and toilet waters to 30 percent would be preferable than any rise on our fuel prices.”

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian says the proposed vanity tax is “discriminatory to women”, and “not a viable alternative to excise taxes on fuel”. He is thinking of the welfare of working-class women, like sales ladies and office workers, for whom increased cosmetics prices would be burdensome.

Meanwhile the Department of Finance says that a vanity tax is not part of proposed tax reform packages being pitched to Congress.

The hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty took off on social media. Here’s what people have to say.  I hope Batocabe’s bill will not be passed.

UPDATE: Batocabe withdrew his bill!  All the protest and uproar worked!