LOOK: Health advocates urge senators to pass proposed tobacco tax hike
MANILA, Philippines — Health advocates on Tuesday gathered outside the Senate complex in Pasay City to urge senators approve the bill seeking to further increase the excise tax on tobacco products.
The Sin Tax coalition along with civil society groups, doctors and nurses conducted the event while the Senate committee on ways and means started discussing in its chambers the proposed laws to increase tobacco tax.
Advocates held up signs with messages: “Isalba ang mga baga! Protektahan ang mga bata!” “Buwis sa yosi itaas na!”
Meanwhile, a group of tobacco farmers also held a protest action at the Senate to oppose moves for additional tax on tobacco products.
Members of the National Tobacco Growers Association and Cooperative displayed placards with messages: “Lagi Na Lang Tabako Ang Puntirya” “Justice for Tobacco Farmers” “No to excise tax increase.”
Senator Manny Pacquiao earlier filed Senate Bill 1599 seeking to raise cigarette excise tax to P60 per pack.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also filed a bill proposing to increase the tobacco excise tax to P70 per pack.
Earlier, the House ways and means committee approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to raise the excise tax on tobacco products.
President Rodrigo Duterte has also approved the Deparment of Health (DOH) and the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposal to increase excise tax on tobacco products. /jpv
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