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DOH pushes for P90 excise tax on tobacco products

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 6 November 2018 09:09 AM


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health  (DOH) calls on Congress for the passage of the proposed P90 tobacco tax.

Once the bill passes into law, a current P40 to P50-peso cigarette pack will have an additional P90, which will bring it to P130 to P140 per pack.

The DOH believes that raising tobacco taxes could save the lives of many Filipinos from getting sick due to cigarette smoking.

 “Estimates show that if tobacco taxes are pegged at P90, around 1 million tobacco-attributable deaths could be averted. Smoking prevalence could also be reduced from 21. 6% of the population down to a target of 15.7%,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

Aside from averting tobacco-attributable deaths in the country, this could also add to the funding gap for the Universal Health Care Bill.

Both houses of Congress have passed the UHC bill in the third reading.

The bicameral conference is set to deliberate and merge the two versions.

Once the UHC bill passes into law, P257B will be needed to fund it for its first year of implementation to give Filipinos quality health care.

The funding gap of P164 billion will be coming from the sin tax collection.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), establishing a universal health care in the Philippines is a win-win solution

 “We will save lives to through the UHC law but also there will be economic returns for the population. We know that for every dollar every country invests into UHC law, there will be 140 percent return in economy, to savings and to economic development,” said WHO country representative Dr. Gundo Weiler.

Meanwhile, 67 percent Filipinos approved the increased tobacco tax based on the Pulse Asia “Ulat ng Bayan” survey last September.

Respondents were smokers, former smokers and relatives of smokers

 “This means that 2 out of 3 Filipinos agree that cigarette taxes should be increased. The survey also highlighted that 64 percent will vote for electoral candidates who will endorse higher taxes for tobacco products,” Duque explained.

The survey results also showed that Filipinos are more inclined to consider candidates in the upcoming elections who would push for Filipinos’ health particularly those who support the increased tobacco tax in the country. – Aiko Miguel

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Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula up by 81%

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, 18 March 2019 12:51 PM

Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula rose to 81 percent, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 9. Cases had reached 1,743 from January 1 to March 7, 2019.

Based on the report of the DOH 9, Zamboanga City reported 719 dengue cases, a 213% increase compared to the same period last year which recorded 230 cases. Zamboanga del Norte, on the other hand, recorded 499 cases which is a 222 percent increase from last year’s 155 cases.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay recorded 175 dengue cases; Isabela City , Basilan, 99 cases; and Zamboanga Del Sur with 251.

READ: DOH: even a little water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes

The DOH reminds residents to implement the 4-S campaign against dengue and work on controlling the mosquito population.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously said, “The first step to prevent dengue is within our homes. It is important to remove any space or container that can hold unnecessary stagnant water which may become breeding sites for mosquitoes.”—Aileen Cerrudo

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DOH calls for increased awareness vs. depression after Razorback drummer’s suicide

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 17 January 2019 03:11 PM

Razorback drummer Brian Velasco. | Courtesy: Brian Velasco FB

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday (January 17) issued a statement calling on the public to help spread awareness against depression following the apparent suicide of drummer Brian Velasco of the ‘90s hard rock band, Razorback.

The 41-year-old drummer fell to his death on Wednesday (January 16) from the 34th floor roof deck of the City Land Tower in Vito Cruz, Malate, Manila, according to a report from Malate Police Station.

He broadcasted his suicide live on Facebook which went viral on social media.

The DOH in its statement calls on the public “to stop sharing the tragic video” in respect to the grieving family.

Instead, the department encourages the public “to start talking about depression to end the stigma surrounding mental health because when left unattended, it (depression) can lead to suicide.”

According to the DOH, about 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depressive disorder with suicide rate higher in males at 2.5 and 1.7 females per 100,000.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said 800,000 people die every year due to suicide and it is considered the second leading cause of death among individuals age 15 to 49 years old in the world.

The DOH encourages anyone who is suffering from depression or in need of help, to report to the agency’s 24-hour suicide prevention hotline numbers (02) 804-4673; 0917-5584673 or send a SMS to 2919 for globe and TM subscribers. — Marje Pelayo

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Firecracker-related injuries decline by 52% at 236 cases – DOH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 2 January 2019 04:43 PM


A victim of firecracker piccolo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) noted a significant decline in the number of firecracker-related injuries from December 21, 2018 to January 2, 2019.

This year’s tally, the DOH said, was 256, which is lower than the same period last year which was 492.

DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo noted, however, that there were still severe cases recorded this year.

“Mayroon pa rin tayong walong naputulan ng daliri. May 61 na tinamaan sa mata. Gusto pa rin natin na bumaba ito,” Domingo said,

Based on DOH’s record, Metro Manila tops the regions with the highest number of firecracker-related injuries, followed by Ilocos Region and Western Visayas.

Meanwhile, skyrockets or ‘kwitis’ tops the list of injury-causing firecrackers.

“Mayroon pa rin tayong piccolo, boga, at luces…5-star ang pinaka-common pa rin na injuries this year,” the health official said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously emphasized the strict implementation of firecracker zones because most firecracker-related injuries happen in streets or at home.

“So masaya tayo. Relatively speaking mababa. Pero mas masaya kung zero casualty. So palagay ko darating din ang panahon na zero casualty tayo. Mayroon tayong hinahabol na modelo ang Davao City,” Duque said noting Davao City for its record of zero-casualty in welcoming the new year.

Duque noted that most of the victims were high in alcohol.

Some were hurt while smoking cigarettes that sparked the firecracker.

Aside from firecracker ban, the DOH also encourages the public to do away from vices particularly drinking alcohol.

“Iyong manginginom kung pwede itigil ninyo na rin iyan. Dati may sinasabi safe amount of drinking alcohol. Wala ng safe amount kahit na small amount ay meron din banta sa ating kalusugan kaya itigil na  natin iyan,” Duque concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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