Doctors confront Recto on his sin tax bill version



Senator Ralph Recto. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Several doctors from the Philippine College of Physicians confronted Senator Ralph Recto Monday over his version of the sin tax bill which aims to collect a lower number of taxes compared to what was initially targeted by several government agencies.

“We confronted him to express our dismay and our position [about the sin tax bill],” Doctor Anthony Leachon of the Philippine College of Physicians told reporters after their meeting with Recto.

He however said that they were unable to convince Recto to reconsider his version of the sin tax bill that aims to generate an additional P15 billion for the government.

The House of Representatives version would raise P30 billion through higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. The Department of Health, Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and other agencies were targeting P60 billion.

“We will not compromise [on the P60 billion],” Leachon said. Numerous studies indicate that the higher the price of tobacco and alcohol products will lower the consumption and also the risks of health diseases, he added.

“[The] higher sin taxes will not only be for smokers but for everyone under healthcare,” Leachon said. The increased revenues are going to be allocated in healthcare to boost the country’s medical services.

He said that Recto’s version of the bill was not realistic and rational. “We won’t profit from P15 billion, that is so small,” he added.

Despite Recto being “cordial and empathic” to their position, Leachon said that Recto was not going to change his position.

“We will talk to the other senators [as well as] Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile,” Leachon said.

Recto however told the doctors that he is open to amendment and will not block amendments once it is debated on the Senate floor.

Leachon however warned senators that they will expose the names of those who are in favor of Recto’s bill to inform the people especially since the election was coming in the next year.

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  • acidicboy

    silly doctors… why would he listen to them?  do they have a big slush fund? are they major lobbyists?

    • Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Of course recto would listen to them.
      Do anything these doctors want, well that’s a different thing altogether.

  • Run High

    Good Doctors!  If many more Filipino leaders think like you do,  we would definitely be on the right track to a progressive and healthy nation.  Salute! 

  • $26606290

    Good effort Docs! 
    Any plans of confronting the fastfood chains serving unhealthy food such as french fries and other fried goodies.
    Perhaps you can suggest nutrional values and health warnings on their packaging too.
    These food products may be more detrimental to our health than cigarettes and are excessively consumed by all, including little kids.

    • JP

      Don’t even start comparing fast food with cigarettes. And please provide evidence to your claim that they are “more detrimental to our health” than cigarettes. Ang sigarilyo kahit “in moderation” ang gamit, nakakamatay. Ang fastfood hindi. Tsaka pag kumain ka ng fastfood, walang nadadamay. Pag nag yosi ka pati katabi mo magkaka cancer.

  • Albin

    If we don’t like to spend billions treating smoking victims, then ipagbawal ang paninigarilyo.
    Starting from malacanang.

  • Benjamin

    Doc.turukan mo nga ng cyanide sa wetpu si recto kadiri para matauhan…

  • Phunky_Juan

    Mr. Ralph, please be enlightened, The people needs you, Come on! Don’t tell us that “Help your relatives to quit smoking, and we have no issues to discuss” Have you yourself made a person to quit his vices that he is doing for years? How about the people with lack of education. Instead of giving their money to their children, they tend to buy more cigarette and alcohol.. I am a drinker but not a smoker, even if prices become high, I will still buy a drink, because I have money unlike the homeless guys that buys drinks even without the capacity to buy.

  • johnlordphilip

    It seems Recto is protecting the interest of the VERY FEW over the great majority!!!

  • Jose

    Not that i don’t appreciate doctors speaking up here, but it’s a bit rich for them to be concerned about taxes all of a sudden when they’re some of the biggest tax evaders in the land.

    • Felix Alcantara

      Precisely! And not just tax evaders but they bamboozled their patients by prescribing unnecessary medicines because most drug companies allotted 30 to 40 percent as their share of the sales of those oftentimes useless drugs which generally are made in Pakistan and China. These Doctors are just like Recto-moneysuckers. 

  • It’s No Time To Doubt Now

    To the good doctors, instead of wasting your time confronting Senator Recto, you ought to spend more time convincing our beloved President PNoy to quit smoking. With so many young people idolizing our great leader PNoy, young smokers will immediately stop smoking once our president stops. To help him kick the habit, you  should explain to him how smoking undermines his potency and can result in a certain unmanly dysfunction. Your expert opinion will help our dear leader PNoy understand his body better. Getting our beloved President PNoy to quit is the key to getting 17.3 million Filipino smokers to quit. Hope to hear from you good doctors soon.

    • mon key

      making the president quit smoking has nothing to do with young people getting the habit. teenagers get the habit from persons they are emotionally close with – a parent, relative or older friends in school or the neighborhood. the doctors have a point. using the sin tax bill to malign the president shows your bias against the president. which is understandable . . . considering your state of mind. 

      • It’s No Time To Doubt Now

        but that’s not what the doctors today said. how can you completely disregard science and not care about the health of our beloved President PNoy?

        and may I humbly suggest:
        vote straight LP in 2013
        Ninoy 2.0 = Bam Aquino

      • mon key

        choosing between another estrada and another enrile and another binay, plus a zubiri . . . i would rather go for another aquino.

      • It’s No Time To Doubt Now

        thanks for planning to vote straight LP.
        always remember, Ninoy 2.0 = Bam Aquino.
        just in case Miriam leaves, please vote for Ting-Ting.

      • mon key

        what has she done? really. 

      • It’s No Time To Doubt Now

        Microfinance in Luisita. Paluwagan.

        And she can do more if Miriam resigns and Ting-ting gets in the senate. She may be with UNA, but she will cooperate with our beloved President PNoy’s administration.

      • mon key

        what she has done is not ground breaking. plus the fact that she is allied with 3 overly ambitious politicians who have done so much to advance their own interests over the rest of us. . . no way!

  • Butuan

    Ay nabunking! Style mo RECTO bulok! 

  • salvation phils

    Magkano kaya ang halaga ng lobby on taxing cigarettes and alcohol?

    • JP

      May lobby ba yan? Wala naman business interest yun mga nagsusulong ng tax. Less income pa nga yan sa health care sector pag walang nagkasakit from tobacco related illnesses.

  • boldyak


    • Nelson Ancheta

      tama. boldyak ka tlaga

  • Ommm

    Now how on earth can higher taxes force smokers to quit YET raise an additional 60 billion?

    If people don’t buy cigarettes the government makes nothing at all.

    This logic seems to be totally ignored on all sides in this debate. The government claims they want people to quit….but really don’t expect them to, knowing this is an addictive substance.

    If the government is serious about its claims to diminish smoking to improve the health of the country then why not go all the way? Become the planets first nation to make smoking illegal and prove how progressive this country is. Of course the president would have to quit or face a jail term and the current tax income would be totally lost…..but on the upside we would all live forever….??….

    Which brings us to these doctors…are they really doing their job?… as lots of non smokers are dying daily….

    Unfortunately with life comes death…smoker or not we are all going to die. This is another fact ignored in the sin tax logic.

    Why don’t we all face the truth that the government is using peoples addiction to extort money and they really don’t care if smoking kills you or not as long as they can lay the blame on the substances they advocate and profit greatly from….

    • JP

      Please remember that smokers waste healthcare resources. It strains the limited PHIC funds. We would be saving billions if no one gets sick or dies from smoking related diseases. 
      Ganito na lang, smoke all you want with minimum tax on your vice, but I want all smokers out of PHIC coverage. Magkano lang ba monthly contribution sa PHIC ng isang smoker? Magkano gagastusin sa kanya pag nagka cancer na siya o COPD or any respiratory disease for that matter? San kukunin yun pera? Di ba sa contribution ng lahat including the non-smokers? 
      This law is not extortion. Smokers like you waste our PHIC resources. Don’t bring up the argument that we will all die anyway. You’re accelerating your own demise by smoking. Nandadamay pa kayo ng non-smokers with your second hand smoke. Tapos gagamitin nyo pa pati contribution namin sa PHIC.
      Mali kasi ang pag talakay sa bill na ito. Imbes na sabihin source ng additional funds, treat it as savings. Savings sa future health care expenses of those who willfully poison their own bodies.

      • Ommm

        Point is they are going to die whether they smoke or not. In the last 2 years 3 people have died i know…a friend 27 of a blood disease, light smoker….neighbor 45 leukemia,non smoker…in law 35 brain cancer non smoker.

        What health care are you referring to? The one that pays just 30% and holds patients hostage for the remaining bill?

        How can you claim an acceleration of your demise without knowing the date you are about to die?

      • JP

        Don’t mislead us with percentages. Let’s count the actual cost. How much ang monthly contribution sa PHIC? How much ang expenses let’s say five confinements for management of lung cancer? Baka isang confinement pa lang lugi na PHIC sa iyo.
        And yes, it’s proven that smokers have shorter life span than non-smokers. Wait lang natin ma approve ng moderator yun mga links that I provided.
        30% mukhang maliit. Pero 30% yan ng hospitalization cost. Hindi 30% ng contribution mo. Again baka isang confinement pa lang, lugi na PHIC sa iyo. San kukunin yun pandagdag? Sa contribution namin.

      • JP

        U.S. Smoking Rates Keep Life Expectancy Down
        Study Shows High Smoking Rates in Earlier Decades Affects Life Spans in U.S.
        Save This Article For LaterShare this:Font size:AAA
        By Salynn BoylesWebMD Health News
        Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

        Jan. 25, 2011 — Life expectancies in the U.S. are now lower than for many other industrialized countries, and the nation’s past love affair with tobacco is largely to blame, government officials say.
        In a report released Tuesday, a panel commissioned by the National Research Council sought to explain why the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet Americans are dying younger than some of their counterparts in other high-income countries.
        Over the past two and a half decades, life expectancies continued to rise in the U.S., but at a slower pace than those seen in Australia, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and other high-income European countries.
        The average life expectancy for men in the U.S. was 75.6 years in 2007, compared to around 79 years among men in living in Australia, Japan, and Sweden and between 77 and 78 years among men living in the Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France.
        The life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 80.8 years, which is lower than for any other high-income country included in the analysis except Denmark (80.5 years).
        Slideshow: Surprising Ways Smoking Affects Your Looks

        Smoking Time Lag
        Americans now smoke less than the populations of many other industrialized, high-income countries, but this was not the case in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, panel co-chair Samuel H. Preston, PhD, tells WebMD.
        Three to five decades ago, smoking rates were much higher in the U.S. than in Europe or Japan, and the impact of this is now being seen in the mortality data, the report found.
        “There is a lag time of several decades between when people smoke and when they die of smoking-related diseases,” Preston says.
        The panel found the impact of smoking on life expectancy to be especially pronounced among American women who, as a group, both started and began to stop smoking later than men.
        Smoking rates peaked for men in the U.S. in the mid 1950s at around 57%, but had dropped to around 30% by 1990.
        Rates were highest among women in the 1960s and 1970s, when between 30% and 35% of women smoked, according to CDC.
        Around 23% of American men and 18% of American women now smoke, CDC says.
        The trends mean that life expectancies in the U.S. are likely to increase more rapidly for men than women in the coming decades, the panel found.
        Obesity and Life Expectancy
        The group concluded that rising obesity rates in the U.S. have also played a role in lagging life expectancy gains. The report concludes that obesity may account for a fifth to a third of this lag.
        The impact of obesity is much harder to quantify that that of tobacco, Preston says. But there is concern that rising obesity rates may offset the improvement in life expectancy expected from smoking reductions.

      • JP

        Support for my argument about “accelerating your demise”…

      • JP

        Back up on my argument about the health care burden and cost of tobacco related diseases.

      • JP

        Don’t bring up diseases that are not related to smoking then argue that we will all die anyway. Ulitin ko, madami na nga sakit pwede natin ikamatay, dagdagan pa natin ng tobacco related? If we follow your argument, it’s like saying it’s OK to commit murder or attempt suicide because we’ll all die anyway. Yun leukemia, brain cancer etc. na binabanggit mo, most of the time we cannot do anything about them. Parang non-modifiable risks na tinatawag sa medisina. Pero yun tobacco related? Modifiable yun risks nun.

    • Nelson Ancheta

      so wla kang gagawin para mabawasan man lang ang mga smokers? ganun ba?

  • noguile

    the doctors know that cigarettes really are just the delivery system for nicotine. purpose of which is to make a smoker an addict and entice him/her to buy more cigarettes thereby increasing their sales. never mind the tar etc. do you notice these pretty girls sometimes in bars or hangouts who give away free cigarettes for one to try? they are like pushers that way.

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