Health office renews call for sin tax bill passage-A A +A
Sunday, July 1, 2012
THE Department of Health (DOH) reiterated its call for the swift passage of the Sin Tax Reform bill to help the government address the number of people with tobacco-related illnesses.
In a recent forum on the bill, DOH-National Center for Health Promotion Supervising Health Program Officer Luz Tagunicar said the department is fully supportive of the bill as it would lead to higher revenues.
“There is a need to significantly raise tobacco product excise taxes, and index taxes to inflation in order to raise tobacco product prices and reduce tobacco use,” said Tagunicar.
“We must also earmark revenues from tobacco taxes for health priorities,” she added.
The health official noted the importance of the measure, saying the current tobacco revenue is “nowhere near the expenses in treating smokers afflicted with illnesses.”
Citing data from the Tobacco and Poverty Study of the World Health Organization in 2008, the DOH said government revenue from tobacco taxes is about P23 billion annually but the health care costs of the top four tobacco-related diseases are estimated at P149 billion annually.
The top four diseases are cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.
Last month, the House of Representatives passed the Sin Tax Reform Bill via a 210-21 votes.
However, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he expects “rough sailing” for the measure in the Senate.
Sin tax bill is among the priority measures of the Aquino administration. (HDT/Sunnex)