Health group backs junk food tax

HEALTH experts are strongly supporting the plan of the incoming administration to impose additional tax on junk food.

In an interview, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) Foundation President Dr Tony Leachon said they agree with the plan of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to get more revenues from unhealthy food products such as junk foods.

“We support imposing sin taxes on sodas and junk food... A healthy discussion is needed involving stakeholders,” Leachon said.

He even added that the additional tax on junk food and softdrinks can easily be patterned after the sin tax imposed on tobacco and alcohol products.

Among them, he said, is by giving more budget allocation for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in order to make it more capable to help those least able to afford the medical care they require.

Leachon said another possible allocation for junk food taxes is for subsidizing the provision of healthy food, like fruits and vegetables, for poor children.

Currently, the PCP Foundation head said they had been noticing the penchant of Filipinos to eat voluminous amount of junk food, particularly chips and sodas.

“[Junk food binging] is quite prevalent not only in the Philippines but in the world due to changes in eating behavior and lifestyle brought about by urbanization and globalization,” he said.

This, Leachon stressed, could result to more Filipinos being vulnerable to diseases brought by junk food and sodas.

Medical conditions stemming from junk food include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, gall bladder stones, fatty liver, and other cardiovascular conditions.

In a recent interview, incoming Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he would like to impose a tax on junk food.

Dominguez explained that the imposition of such taxes are aimed to “discourage people from consuming junk food items” for their own health. (HDT/Sunnex)

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