RH, sin tax bills to fund health costs, says DOHPhilippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Health (DOH) urged lawmakers on Tuesday to pass the reproductive health (RH) and “sin tax” bills because it would mean more funds for health services for Filipinos.
In a statement, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said these bills were expected to result in savings for the government by lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies and premature deaths.
Ona said maternal deaths in the Philippines were rising. According to the DOH, the mortality rate for Filipino mothers had increased to 221 per 100,000 live births in 2011 from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009.
Among the country’s UN Millennium Development Goals is the reduction of the maternal mortality rate to 52 (per 100,000 live births).
The RH bill, when enacted, will contribute to improving maternal and child health,” Ona said.
On the other hand, the sin tax measure will hopefully discourage the consumption of tobacco and alcohol products, especially among the young and the poor. The DOH estimated that a 10-percent increase in tobacco taxes would reduce by two million the number of smokers by 2016.
Aside from these measures, the DOH also justified its proposed P54.6 billion budget for 2013.
According to Ona, 69 percent of the budget will go to priority programs such as PhilHealth subsidies, health infrastructure, family planning, tuberculosis control, immunization activities, control of emerging diseases, and the Doctor to the Barrios program.
“The proposed 2013 budget will bring us closer to achieving our Millennium Development Goals and strengthen the Aquino administration’s promise of universal health care for all Filipinos,” Ona said in a statement.
The proposed budget will earmark P13.5 billion for the improvement of health facilities nationwide, he added.
About P304.5 million will go to the Commission on Population, while P327 million will go to the National Nutrition Council. Kristine L. Alave