Mayor supports increase of sin tax

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan expressed full support to increasing the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products being pushed by the Department of Health.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona earlier sought the mayor's support for the immediate passage of House Bill No. 5727 entitled "An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products" which he said will help generate funds for the Universal health Care Program of the government.

"We are supportive of the passage of measures that will constrain the youth from purchasing alcohol and cigarettes considering that such items are hazardous to their health when taken excessively," the mayor told Ona.

"Levying excise tax to alcohol and cigarettes will definitely result to increase in the buying prices of such items thereby making it unaffordable to the ordinary citizen, thus, they will be constrained to abandon drinking and smoking."

The mayor said the dangers of smoking and alcohol consumption have been established and even supported by numerous researches from the different parts of the global village.

"Ironically, despite our efforts to curb (these vices), many youth are still into such vices because such items are affordable in the market."

"It is therefore our position to fully support the immediate passage of the (said) legislative measure to make cigarettes and alcohol prohibitive and beyond the reach of ordinary persons," the mayor assured Ona.

Ona said the increase in excise tax is "both a fiscal and public health imperative" as it will deter the youth from easily accessing the said commodities and at the same time will fund the health program of the government through the additional revenue generated from the excise tax.

Ona said it was estimated that the passage of the bill will realize P60 billion in the first year and P140 billion in the fifth year of implementation.

He said the said amount will be used to finance enrolment of families in PhilHealth and finance the construction and upgrading of hospitals, rural health units and barangay health centers.

Ona however said the bill will not kill the country's tobacco industry citing the situation in Thailand which he said now has a successful taxation experience while reducing smoking rate moderately.

He said that another advantage of the current bill will be that the allocation of the tobacco excise tax revenues will now be distributed to all provinces instead of being limited only to tobacco producing areas through the universal health care program.

"DOH requests your good office to consider your position on HB 5257 as a reflection of your commitment to improve the health of the Filipino people," Ona said. – A Refuerzo

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