Ilonggos join One Million signature drive for sin tax-A A +A
Thursday, September 6, 2012
ILOILO CITY - Ilonggos here have joined the bandwagon for the passage of the sin tax bill currently under discussion in the Senate.
A signature campaign, led by the Department of Health regional office here, is expected to reach its target of one million signatures nationwide before the Senate resumes its discussion.
Dr. Ma. Julia Villanueva said the sin tax is actually an anti-cancer tax levied upon cigarette smokers and liquors, including the manufacturers and dealers.
Villanueva, a medical specialist and head of the Integrated Non-Communicable Disease Cluster of DOH in Western Visayas, said the World Health Organization (WHO) blames smoking and liquor as most probable causes of cancer.
WHO has established that the single most effective intervention to curb tobacco consumption is to impose substantial taxes on tobacco products.
This will raise prices and discourage first time users to smoke and encourage current smokers to quit.
The sin tax is definitely not anti-business but will boosts government revenues in providing more resources for healthcare programs.
Villanueva also said the government generates P40 billion annual revenues from tobacco and liquor and is not enough to cover the P177 billion health cost spawned by tobacco consumption.
The signature campaign dubbed as “One Million 23/7” is expected to drive Congress to enact and pass the bill authored by Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
If enacted into law, it will increase tax rates, adopt a more simplified tax system for alcohol and tobacco products, index taxes to nominal gross domestic product growth rate and remove the freeze on price classification.
The bill is also seen to win the poor, youth, health, economy, job, farmers, politicians and the future.
On the other hand, Villanueva said 15 percent generated from the sin tax will help tobacco farmers look for alternative livelihood or look for other crops to plant.