Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – The influential Catholic Church in the Philippines can learn a thing or two from the country’s civilian government, especially around taxes.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is closely monitoring developments within the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which recently announced that tax collection this year has increased because of the sin tax.
The sin tax is collected from sales of alcohol and tobacco. According to BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares, there has been a 29.7 percent increase in excise tax collections in just the first semester of the current fiscal year. This growth was driven by a 44.44 percent increase in collections from tobacco products and 11.62 percent increase from alcohol.
In an emergency meeting convened last night by CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the country’s top prelates strategized on how to deal with the declining church revenue from the Sunday collection baskets.
Citing the success of the BIR’s sin tax collections, Villegas proposed that the church institute something similar. He proposed that instead of asking people to pray Hail Marys or the rosary as part of their penance when going to confession, priests will ask repentants to contribute money to the church, much like a sin tax. Priests will be given the authority to determine how much sin tax to impose, depending on whether the sins confessed are mortal or venial sins.
Special collection boxes will be installed beside confessional boxes in all churches in the country for this purpose.
The CBCP expects to increase its collections by 200 percent once this proposal is implemented. Villegas said CBCP will ask Pope Francis’ blessing for the sin tax when the head of the Roman Catholic Church visits the Philippines next January.