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Solon brands planned tax on salt as ‘insensitive’

/ 04:37 AM November 04, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The leader of the House minority bloc on Sunday branded as “insensitive and callous” a proposal by the Department of Health (DOH) to impose a tax on salty food, saying it would unduly burden poor families.

“Our countrymen are already experiencing hunger and they are still thinking of increasing the prices of food? That is insensitive and callous,” Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. said in a statement.

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“If our health officials want to promote healthy eating and healthy living, there are other ways to achieve this,” Abante added.

‘We must draw the line’

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Abante said he understood the rationale behind the tax on alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks, as “these are inessential food items that are bad for the health of our people, so we can get behind measures to curb their consumption.”

“However, we must draw the line at taxing food that our countrymen regularly consume, particularly the poor,” he said.

“In our view, we think that proposals to tax salty food is too much,” the lawmaker said.

Last week, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the DOH might ask Congress to pass a law imposing a tax on food with high salt content, noting that too much salt in one’s diet was “directly correlated to hypertension, heart disease and kidney diseases.”

The same rationale was used in the imposition of new excise taxes on sugary beverages, along with cigarettes and fuels, under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion act, whose implementation began in 2018. —DJ Yap

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TAGS: Bienvenido Abante Jr., proposed tax on salt
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