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.