Duterte signs law on higher excise tax on tobacco

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 26, 2019   •   933

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday (July 25) the law imposing higher excise taxes on tobacco products, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has confirmed.

“To address the urgent need to protect the right to health of the Filipino people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, the President has signed into law HB no. 8677/ SB no. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tabacco Products,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, health advocates including the Sin Tax Coalition lauded the signing of the law on increasing tobacco taxes.

“This latest tax increase represents another positive step in protecting more Filipinos from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, health advocate and former independent director of PhilHealth.

READ: Country in a ‘win-win-win’ situation with increased cigarette tax—WHO

Under the new law, Republic Act 11346, tax rates for cigarettes will increase to P45 this 2020, from P35 per pack. There will be additional P5 for each succeeding year.

Palace: Duterte is now in the ‘green of health’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has announced that President Rodrigo Duterte is experiencing sickness due to old age and is now in the “green of health”, not pink.

On Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president, who is now 74 years old, is “not normal” when it comes to his health.

“Hindi siya normal kasi nga, ang dami niyang nararamdaman. Kumbaga, kung sinabi ko noon na (He is not normal because he has a lot of illnesses. It’s like, if I said then) he was ‘in the pink of health’, ngayon (now) I think he is now ‘in the green of health’,” he said.

However, Panelo said despite these illnesses, Duterte continues to do his duties as the chief executive.

“If you will notice, kahit na ganyan siya, may nararamdaman, iyong kaniyang schedule ganoon pa rin, hindi pa rin nagbago (Even if he is experiencing illnesses [due to old age] his schedule remain unchanged), not only does he survive but he does it well,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace warns Robredo against ‘revealing state secrets’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that Vice President Leni Robredo could be removed as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs (ICAD) if she reveals sensitive information about the drug war to foreign individuals and entities.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said revealing state secrets would be damaging to Filipino people.

“Not to mention that under Article 229 of the Revised Penal Code, such revelation of privileged information is a crime which has perpetual special disqualification from office, among its penalties,” he added.

Panelo said the president’s warning came when the vice president previously requested access to all data and documents relating to the government’s war on drugs.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Senate eyes sin tax higher than House version

Maris Federez   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday said that they are targeting to pass a bill that will press for sin taxes which are much higher than that of the House version.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 12) certified Senate Bill 1074 that seeks to impose higher taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes including heated tobacco products and vapes.

The higher sin tax aims to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

Committee chairperson, Sen. Pia Cayetano, said the higher sin tax will ensure that there will be sufficient funds for health services for all Filipinos and lesser consumption of the said sin products.

“I am pushing for a version that recommends higher tax rates than those approved by the House of Representatives for two reasons: first, it will provide proper funding for the delivery of health services to all Filipinos; and second, it will effectively reduce the consumption of sin products,” Cayetano said

In the House version, an estimated P47.9-billion tax will be collected and be allocated to the Universal Health Care program.

A total of P356.9-billion will be allotted for the program in the next five years. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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