When Duterte’s Administration came into effect, one of their goals is to increase the tax of vices like alcoholic beverages and tobacco. This is known as the House Bill 5727 or more commonly known as the Sin Tax Bill. What this looks to have is the restructuring of taxes in tobacco goods and alcoholic drinks.
Just recently, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian pushed for the passing of a bill that looks to increase the toll tax in tobacco products within the nine (9) sessions left of the current 17th Congress. The Senator pushed this on Monday, the 20th of May, 2019.
Tobacco Tax Increase
As per the Senator, the best time opportunity or time to submit this tobacco tax hike would be in the last days or sessions before the 17th Congress adjourns on the 7th of June 2019. He said this during a press conference and noted that the approval of this bill, which is currently on the third (3rd) reading is possible to be executed within the next week.
How much would the tobacco tax hike be?
Senator Gatchalian wishes to increase the price of cigarette packs. Based on his proposal, he wishes the tobacco tax hike to have a P70.00 increase per pack. In addition to that, he said that this specific measure will be effective and useful in raising the funds to finance key provisions such as the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.
He emphasized that the extra tax would be efficient in enhancing health in the Philippines. More so, it is going to be efficient in making the systems in policing illegal transactions.
These funds would go a long way towards improving health outcomes in the country, as well as improving mechanisms for policing cigarette smuggling and illicit trade.”
So, part of the real reasons why a tobacco tax hike is being processed is because of the Philippine government to properly monitor the movement of tobacco in and out of the country.
Dr. Maria Victoria Raquiza, co-convener of the Social Watch Philippines (SWP), said that for the very first year that the Universal Health care (UHC) law was in effect, the fund was short by P63 billion. More so, she said that the benefits of the new law might not be fruitful without incurring extra charges—leading to the idea to increase the taxes of cigarettes or tobacco.
If the sin tax bill is passed, we would be able to cut the funding shortfall for the Universal Health Care (UHC) law by about one half.”
In addition to the benefits of the tobacco tax hike to the overall funding of the UHC, chairperson of the Council of Past Presidents of the Philippine College of Physicians Dr. Anthony Leachon, put emphasis that this tobacco tax hike is something that could be beneficial to the health of everyone. More so, this could lead in reducing the demographic of people who smokes in the country.
It’s a very well-known fact that cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death around the world, not just the Philippines. Therefore, we must see to it that we take the necessary steps to make sure that cigarettes are not affordable, particularly for the vulnerable sectors.”
Dr. Leachon said that imposing ann additional P60.00 per pack would be equivalent to saving one (1) million Filipinos from the negative effects of smoking cigarettes. Furthermore, it’s going to be more expensive which can be one of the stronger reasons why people won’t purchase it.
A total of 17.3 million Filipino adults or 28 percent smoke tobacco. This is from the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).
Our dear President Rodrigo Duterte, certified the Senate Bill 1599 or the Excise Tax on Tobacco sponsored by Senator Manny Pacquiao made as an urgent measure. The Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Finance (DoF) supported this specific measure with the awareness that it really would be beneficial to the budget and to he health of the majority of Filipinos.
Sonny Angara, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means dedicated his enthusiasm in sponsoring and supporting the committee report in the continuation of sessions.
What do you think about this tobacco tax hike? Would this be better in providing a more tangible fund in accordance to the improvement of our health care system? Can this really help stop a majority of people from smoking—leading to a better and a more healthier lifestyle?