NGO expresses support for bill against smoking-A A +A
Monday, September 17, 2012
THE Philippine Heart Association (PHA), a non-stock, non-profit organization of heart and vascular specialists in the country, supports the passage of Senate Bill 3249, or An Act Restructuring the Excise Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco Products.
In a one-page newspaper advertisement, PHA said the Sin Tax Bill must be passed because they recognize that the right to health is a fundamental right that is maintained in Article II, Section 15 of the Constitution which states that: “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and as a policy instill health consciousness among them.”
“We belong to a society whose sworn Hippocratic mandate is to prevent and treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It is our moral responsibility and our collective duty to support initiatives that will impact on the prevalent tobacco consumption in the country. We support reforms to the current excise tax system on cigarettes and other tobacco products,” read the PHA advertisement.
The group wants that the revenues from sin tax be appropriated for health care.
Rep. Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district) yesterday said it’s time the Senate acted on the Sin Tax Bill, which has been approved by the House of
Quisumbing said that for him, the sin tax bill, or House Bill 5727, is very important since the funds which be derived through it can be used to upgrade government hospitals, purchase medical equipment to improve services, or purchase medicines.
Rep. Democrito Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Party-List said they support the Sin Tax Bill.
Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., chief of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, said the sin tax can be used to subsidize government hospitals during the transition period for universal health care.
Aquino said there is a pending bill in Congress which aims to put up a corporate structure in government hospitals but not privatization.
He said this is in preparation for a universal health care program of the government where everybody, rich or poor must have equal treatment.
“There must be a government subsidy during the transition period, and this sin tax, if approved, can be of help,” Aquino said.
In the health care programs that might be funded by revenues out of this sin tax, the people can avail themselves of first-class health care services without thinking of how much they would have to pay, Aquino said.
“I am very much open to a sin tax law. It is still in the committee level in the Senate,” said Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
Aquino said the Senate Bill is now at the committee chaired by Senator Franklin Drilon.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 17, 2012.