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12 medical associations support Drilon sin tax bill

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Senator Franklin Drilon

The medical community has thrown its support behind Sen. Franklin Drilon’s version of the sin tax bill, hailing it as a “good compromise” that would mean more tax revenues  for the health of indigent Filipinos and save more cigarette-smokers from death.

Drilon told 12 medical associations in a forum Thursday he would call on President Aquino to certify the sin tax measure as urgent.

The forum coincided with the release of a survey on teenage Filipino smokers that showed more than a quarter of them would kick the habit if the price of a cigarette stick was raised by  P10.

The medical groups, led by professors from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), pushed for the passage of Drilon’s draft of the bill, one of several versions of the controversial measure pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The medical alliance vowed to take to the streets and follow the bill’s progress through its new website, bawasbisyobill.com, which aims to widen public awareness and track legislative work on the measure.

Crunching the numbers on the social cost of smoking, Dr. Antonio Dans, a UP medical professor, said 240 Filipinos were dying daily because of smoking-related diseases, particularly lung cancer.

The total healthcare costs of caring for and treating ailing smokers run up to  P188.8 billion a year, he said.

Seize the chance

“We’ll never get this opportunity again to save 42,000 more lives in one fell swoop,” Dans said. “We will never get the chance to show that we are able to provide healthcare to Filipinos regardless of their ability to pay.”

Dans gave the estimate of lives that could be saved per year once Drilon’s version of the bill was passed, citing a projected decline in smoking prevalence.

Dans lambasted the version of the bill by Sen. Ralph Recto, who quit the Senate ways and means committee amid public uproar over his draft perceived to be “friendly” to the tobacco industry. Drilon is now interim chair of the committee.

66,000 lives saved

Drilon’s version seeks to increase the tax on every pack of cigarette to P18.02 from the current P5.54, almost twice the rate in Recto’s version at P9.15.

Dans said Drilon’s version and the entailed higher per-stick pricing would prompt roughly 22 million Filipinos to quit the habit, more than twice the estimated 790,000 smokers expected to give up their vice if Recto’s draft was passed.

The Drilon bill would also save 66,000 Filipinos from smoking-related deaths per year, said Dans. Recto’s would save 24,000.

“Recto’s bill will kill 42,000 more Filipinos,” Dans said before an audience of medical students.

No surrender

Drilon assured the medical community he would not give up on the bill despite the industry lobby.  “I will resist any effort to reduce taxes on cigarettes.  We believe this is the most effective way to save lives,” he said.

“This is a health bill more than a fiscal, revenue measure.  We cannot rest … halfway through the fight,” the senator added.

Drilon said enacting the bill would generate P13.3 billion in funds for the state health insurance agency PhilHealth, for the coverage of 5.2 million indigent Filipino families.

He allayed the fears of tobacco farmers that the bill would kill their livelihood.

Drilon said the market for raw tobacco produce was small: Tobacco manufacturers in the country only source 15 percent of their tobacco requirement from local farmers and import 85 percent from overseas.

 

P1-billion revenue

The push for higher taxes on cigarettes is backed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which cited the Philippines as one of the countries that would suffer the biggest numbers of smoking-related deaths if there was no government intervention.

In its report,  the ADB said the Philippines, together with China, India, Thailand and Vietnam, were seen to eventually register 267 million smoking-related deaths in the short-to-long term if current smoking trends continued.

The ADB said a 70- to 122-percent increase in cigarette taxes in the five countries would cut the number of smokers by 67 million and reduce smoking-related deaths by more than 27 million.

Also on Thursday, former Health Secretaries Esperanza Cabral and Jaime Galvez Tan proposed that at least P1 billion in revenue to be generated from sin taxes should be earmarked for health promotion in the Philippines.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over their personal well-being and encouraging them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Regret later

“Our leaders must recognize the need for health promotion, especially now, when noncommunicable diseases greatly threaten the health of our nation. If we do not address this now, then we are sure to regret it in the future,” Cabral said.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) include cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. Studies have shown six out of 10 deaths in the Philippines are due to NCDs.

“Due to poor lifestyle choices, most Filipinos have risk factors that make them more prone to NCDs,” Tan said.

A WHO study showed 90 percent of all Filipinos have at least one risk factor that causes noncommunicable diseases.

Warning from businessmen

The former  health secretaries emphasized that disease prevention measures, such as health promotion, should be prioritized just as much as curative measures.

“If we only focus on treating sick people, then those who are healthy today will eventually succumb to sickness in the future,” Tan said.

He and Cabral said the government should allot P1 billion from sin tax revenues to ensure all Filipinos have access to healthier options.

But a group of businessmen and professionals warned the government would lose—and not generate—more revenues if it slapped higher taxes on cigarettes.

Fear of revenue loss

The Caucus for Philippine Competitiveness (CPC) said a hike in cigarette taxes of as much as 1,000 percent, as proposed by some legislators, would steeply increase the prices of cigarettes produced by legitimate cigarette manufacturers and cause a shift in demand to cheap, smuggled cigarettes.

CPC, a nongovernment organization, said the government would lose revenues as a consequence, with legitimate businesses suffering reduced sales.

It said the promise of higher government revenues from increasing the sin taxes would hold true only during the first year of implementation of the tax hike. Starting the second year, the decline in tax collection would be felt, it warned.

A problem to confront consumers is the government may be forced to compensate for the lost revenues from cigarette taxes by increasing other taxes, such as the income tax, or imposing new ones, the group said.

“If health and finance officials succeed with the legislation of 1,000 percent hikes, sin tax revenues would contract by the second year of implementation like it did in Singapore,” CPC chair Mike Lopez said in the statement.


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Tags: Cigarette , Franklin Drilon , Legislation , Public Health , Senate , sin tax bill , Smoking


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_POBZSV5PGTGUS3YA2KR2NZI3HA Alex

    I can only wonder on the reason why Inquirer posts this particular photo of Drilon when he’s in the news…likewise with Mirriam’s photo. Put them together in one photograph para silang nasa prayer rally rather than nasa senate..

  • txtman

    KAPAL MUKS NG MGA DOCTOR NA MGA ITO

    MAGBAYAD KAYO NG TAMANG MGA TAXES

    DAMI SA INYO HINDI NAGBABAYAD NG TAMA

    ISA PA

    MASMADAMING NAMAMATAY NA MGA PILIPINO

    DAHIL SA MAHAL NG GAMOT

    AT MAHAL NG SINGIL NG MGA DOCTOR

    KAYA HINDI NA SILA GUMAGALING PA

    BABAAN NINYO PROFESSIONAL FEES NINYO UY

    KAPALMUKS NINYO

    SOBRA-SOBRA KAYONG MANINGIL

    HOW CAN YOU SAY

    THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THE POOR

    KUNG ANG MAHAL NAMAN NG MGA SINGIL NINYO

    ANG BABASTOS PA NINYO HA

    AKALA NINYO KUNG SINONG SANTO KAYO

    PERO EXCUSE ME

    MASMABAHO PA SA BASURA MGA LUMALABAS SA MGA BIBIG NINYO

    ASIDE FROM ANG DAMING PANG MGA IMMORAL SA INYO

    SA UP ANG DAMI DYAN

    YOU NAME IT

    MATAPOBRE

    MANYAK

    MUKHANG PERA

    YOU NAME IT

    DR. DANS, KAILAN KA NAMAN NAGING POLITIKO?

    UP-PROFESSOR KA

    I’M SURE ALAM MO NA NOT ALL LUNG CANCERS IS CAUSED BY
          SMOKING

    WAG MONG LITUHIN ANG MGA TAONG BAYAN

    SUS, WAG MONG IDAMAY ANG MAHAL NATING UP

    BUTI HINDI PA AKO PUMAPANIG KAY KORINA

    IF NOT

    IT WILL BE A DISASTER SA INYO

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    PITIFUL

    • pinayPYT

      Agree ako doon sa magbayad naman sila ng tamang tax !

    • acaldejr

      Kaya huwag dapat kasi manigarilyo para iwas sa gastos sa bayad sa sigarilyo, iwas sa sakit, para iwas din sa gastos sa doktor at sa ospital.  Imbis na ibayad sa sigarilyo ay ibili na lang sa pagkain.

  • Chloroform

    ““Recto’s bill will kill 42,000 more Filipinos,” Dans said”… this is the most ridiculous statement so far…so how many more will “Drilon’s bill kill as compared to Miriam’s Bill?”… or how many more will “Drilon’s Bill” kill as compared to declaring smoking illegal?… the answer is 16 million…

  • Fulpol

    Lucio Tan will drastically reduce production… lost jobs… lower sales…. of course low tax, low revenue for the government…

    why? he will lost in the competition.. caused by cheap cigarettes deliver by smugglers…

  • kilabot

    it’s now in the open, it’s all about business. by supporting the sintax bill instead of promoting total ban on liquor and cigarette, the medical associations want people to continue to get sick and die to benefit hospitals, pharmaceuticals and doctors. these medics are in reality merchants of death.

    if the intention is to reduce incidence of sickness or death caused by liquor/cigarette, which is effective?
    1) pass any form of sin tax – genius way;
    2) ban liquor and cigarette – common sense way;
    3) convince noykapon to quit smoking/drinking, hoping yellow insects will follow – abnoying way;

  • Bengatibo

    Kaninong Figures and tama?? Kay Mirriam, Kay Recto o kay Drilon??? Magtataka ka rin kung bakit tahimik si Padre Damaso tungkol sa Sin Tax Bill pero madalas ay nakasawsaw sa mga political issues? Papatayin daw ang tobacco industry??? Hindi ba puwede silang magtanim nang ibang pananim gaya nang gulay at palay??? Sa ibang bansa napakataas nang presyo nang sigarilyo at alcohol, bakit hindi puwede sa Pilipinas??? Napakalakas nang tobacco lobbyist sa Pinas kaya hindi maipapasa ang Sin Tax Bill!

    • Guest

      Kaya nga ang basa ko diyan, di matutupad ang gustuhin ng gobyerno na maabot ang malaking revenue target na P40B sa sin tax mali mali nga yung kanilang ginagamit na numero.

  • opinyonlangpo

    That is still low, over here it is twelve dollars a pack, in some place it is seven euros. That would mean at least five dollars tax per pack.

    • maximus_meridius

      Isa ka pang gunggong!  Doon sa ibang bansa na mas mahal ang price ng cigarettes, mas mataas naman di hamak ang per capita income ng mga tao dun di kumpara dito sa Pilipinas!  Di mo ba naiisip yan?  Kung ang presyo ng sigarilyo dun ay 3 or 5 times sa presyo ng dito sa atin, 10 or more times naman kita ng mga tao doon bobo!

      • opinyonlangpo

        Pity you can’t afford a shrink. Thats what you get from too much cigarette and alcohol. Comment when you are sober.

      • maximus_meridius

        why then dont you answer my arguments?  That relatively, cigarettes are still cheaper in some countries due to the high income that their people earn?  Your defense is trying to divert the issue to some items like the “shrink” thing.  I think you are the one who needs a shrink cause you cannot think clearly, rationally, and logically!  I suggest you get yourself confined in the institution there in Mandaluyong.  Pack your things now, call a taxi and go there asap before its too late.

  • maximus_meridius

    If cigarettes are really the direct cause of deaths thru related illness, why not ban the stuff outright rather than tax them?  These studid doctors are outright stupid like this Dr. Dunce who even have some figures on hand to justify his stupid logic in the same manner as this stupid senator Drilon justifies his version of this stupid law.  Taxing these items too much is discriminatory as only the rich people now can afford to buy cigarettes.  Well, what can you expect from these people except an outright outpouring of stupidity and idiocy which what this mongolid administration and its mongol president is all about. Dr Dunce, let me say this in front of your face, ang BOBO mo! Nagpapagamit ka dyan sa mga kampon ni abnormal. May ambisyon ka ba maging DOH Secretary?

  • maximus_meridius

    Ang logic mo kasi Dr. (OGAG) Dunce ay ganito:
     
    If very high tax is imposed on cigarettes
      Then  smoker will stop smoking.  —->  Very simplistic thinking, utak biya, utak abnormal tulad ng presidente mo na isang pathological smoker himself.
     
    Now, let us see the logic of the smoker:
     
    If very high tax is imposed on cigarettes
       Then I will do the following:
            Option 1:  Find a way to get cheap source of cigarettes possibly from gray market or smuggled  ones.
            Option 2: I will exhaust other means to have cigarettes and engage the help of my family, friends and network.
            Option 3: If the above options does not work for me, I might possibly engage in criminal activities to support my smoking habit.
     
     

  • Guest

    As what Sen. Marcos said “hindi lamang sa di makukuha  yung kanilang pinapangarap kundi hindi rin mababawasan ang naninigarilyo at bukod pa sa magkakaron pa ng karagdagang smuggling.

  • Guest

    Tama, hindi nga masagot ni Drilon si Marcos during interpellation kung saan nila nakuha yung mga numero nila sa sin tax. Nakakahiya si Drilon.

  • SoupremeKort

    Gusto lang nilang punan ang kapalpakan ni BIR chief Kim Henares at BoC
    chief Biazon sa trabaho nila sa pagkolekta ng buwis kaya pilit nilang ipapasa
    ang sin tax.

  • Guest

    Laging ini-insists ni Drilon, public health measure daw ang sin tax, pero ang katotohanan revenue measure ito dahil sa kakulangan ng koleksiyon ng buwis ng BIR.

  • Guest

    May mungkahi po kami sa mga senador na ipaglaban muna ang pagsasabatas ng sin tax bill. Isipin po muna nila ang epekto nito sa aming umaasa sa tobacco industry.



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