After backing higher sin taxes, Duterte warns danger of smoking
MANILA, Philippines — After expressing support to the proposal to increase excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the public about the danger of smoking.
Speaking at the Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Pasay City on Tuesday night, Duterte said smokers would just end up getting emphysema or cancer.
“Kita mo ‘yung ngayon mga new generation pati ‘yung bata na babae naninigarilyo. Napilitan talaga ako sabihin sa Davao na walang smoking. Wala talagang naninigarilyo maski sa daan. Bawal talaga,” Duterte said.
(We can see that in the new generation, even young girls smoke. I was forced to ban smoking in Davao. No one smokes on the streets.)
“And yet there is no improvement. Why? Nakikita namin sales sa sin taxes. Taasan mo na ‘yung alcohol, taasan mo na lahat ‘yung ano— ang sales ano pa rin. Pati ‘yung kita ng gobyerno. You know how dangerous really,” he added.
(And yet there is no improvement. Why? We can see that from sales and the sin taxes. You increase the price of alcohol and others, the sales are still high, even the government’s revenue. You know how dangerous really.)
As Davao City Mayor, Duterte, a former smoker himself, issued an anti-smoking order out of concern for the health of citizens, which led to a dramatic reduction in the local smoking rate.
In 2017, the President banned smoking at the national level, particularly in public places and public conveyances nationwide.
On Monday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, Duterte agreed to certify as urgent the proposal of the Finance and Health departments for higher sin taxes.
The House version of the sin tax reform bill, which the lower chamber passed on third and final reading before the lawmakers went on Christmas break, imposed an additional tax of P2.50 for every pack of cigarettes.
At the Senate, bills introduced separately by Senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejercito, proposed an excise on a pack of cigarettes higher than the levy in the version passed by the House.
Pacquiao’s Senate Bill No. 1599 wants to increase the tax to P60 per pack while Ejercito’s Senate Bill No. 1605 seeks to raise it to P90 — both substantially higher than the current excise rate of P32.50 per pack.
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