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Senators told to approve Sin Tax bill

HEALTHLY lifestyle advocates are teaming up with a group of economists to push for the approval of the Sin Tax law.

Dr. Asuncion Anden, director of the Dept. of Health in Region 7 (DOH-7) said they are lobbying for the Senate to approve the Senate version of the bill when it resumes session in July 23.

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Filomeno Sta. Ana of the Action for Economic Reforms (AER) and the Project Team Leader of the Bloomberg Tobacco Control Initiative said the proposed law is both good for the health of Filipinos and the coffers of government.

The passage of the Sin Tax bill will save millions of lives, said Dr. Judita Tawatao head of the DOH-7 Health Promotion in the Work Places and Schools.

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DOH is trying to collect millions of signatures to “touch all senators” hearts in favor of the bill.

With a Power point presentation, Tawatao discussed the dangers of smoking.

“Every cigarette stick takes 7 minutes of your life, and it will kill over 175 million people worldwide in the next 20-30 years if you will not support this campaign. We have to act now,” she said.

In the Philippines, she added, “eight out of ten Filipinos die every hour because of tobacco-related-diseases such as cancer (lung), coronary artery, heart attack, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

The bill was first proposed in 1990.

“Tobacco companies have a big influence over the legislators,” said Sta. Ana.

“I would like to congratulate Cebuanos and DOH 7 for launching this initiative. It is historic because this will significantly contribute to the passage of a very important bill.”

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“We have the lowest tax rates for cigarettes in Asia,” he said.

Sta. Ana also explained that the expected drop in demand for cigarettes and alcoholic drinks because the Sin Tax Law will drive prices up would not redound to lower tax windfall.

According to studies done by AER, a 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes and alcohol will decrease consumption by 5.8 percent.

“On the contrary, we are estimating incremental revenue of P33 billion. 15 percent from the tobacco taxes will go to the tobacco farmers while the rest will be used for the universal health care program,” he said.

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