DOH renews call for approval of Sin Tax billBy Joy Cherry Quito
Cebu Daily News
THE Department of Health is making its final push in its lobby for Congress to approve the ‘sin tax’ bill is gaining ground.
“As of September 2012, a total of 12,000 paper signatures were submitted to the Department of Heath, while there were 11,000 hits,visits, and likes on our Facebook page,” according to Dr. Asuncion Anden, Regional Director of the Department of Health Central Visayas.
“The bill is currently in the process of amendment in the Congress and we are encouraging health organizations, the media, and the people to send a letter to the senators to pass the ‘sin tax’ bill stating that they must look more at the bill as a health bill (anti-cancer bill) rather than as a revenue bill,” Dr. Anden added.
She also mentioned that President Noynoy Aquino, though a smoker, agreed that the bill is a very important measure that the legislative must submit.
The sin tax bill aims to increase the taxes of cigarettes and liquor to discourage the youth from smoking and encourage the adults to stop smoking. It also seeks to raise about P33 billion additional government revenues.
The bill is targeting the children, the youth and the women to stop and not to indulge in smoking.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines is one of the largest tobacco consuming countries in the Western Pacific region and in the world, where it ranked number 9 when it comes to male smokers and placed number 16 under female smokers.
Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarette results in a seven percent decline in youth smoking, and a four percent decline in overall smoking, according to WHO.
WHO also stated that 10 Filipinos die every hour due to smoking. 28 percent of the deaths are due to lung cancer and there are 200,000 Filipinos who risk exposure to smoking-related diseases in their productive years.
Dr. Judita Tawatao, Non-Communicable Program Coordinator DOH 7, said the bill will also generate and increase the revenues of the national government.
The revenues earned from the taxes will be used in the expansion of the National Health Insurance Program, upgrading health care facilities and improving the access to quality health care, and public health programs.
“A total of P33 billion will be earned from the taxes of these products for the first year and a 10 percent increase on the taxes will result to a reduction of two million smokers by 2016,” said Dr. Asuncion Anden.