Health groups see rise in number of smokers next year if proposed tax increase on cigarettes fail

admin   •   November 20, 2017   •   5438

MANILA, Philippines — Studies conducted by several health groups reveal the Philippines has the cheapest prices of cigarettes in the world.

If to be compared with other countries, a pack of cigarette in the Philippines cost not more than a dollar and can be bought easily.

“In the Philippines, it’s less than a dollar or a dollar 50 pesos. In other countries, Singapore it’s nine dollars, Australia, it’s 15 dollars but people are still smoking. But we protect the poor and the very young who are the ones who cannot afford higher tobacco taxes,” said Department of Health (DOH) former Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Ubial.

With this, a number of health groups and doctors have expressed concern over the possible rise in the number of Filipino smokers in the country.

They estimated that 200,000 more Filipinos will add to the current number of smokers by 2018.

And within six years, the health experts said it may further rise to a million if the government fails to approve the proposed imposition of more taxes on tobacco products.

Senator Manny Pacquiao’s Senate Bill 1599 or the act raising the excise tax on tobacco products aims to increase the prices of each pack of cigarettes to 60 pesos, while Senator JV Ejercito seeks an increase of 90 pesos per cigarette pack.

The group Action on Smoking Health (ASH) is in favor of the said proposals.

ASH said higher prices of cigarettes may help Filipinos to stop smoking, especially the youth.

“It should be single tax rate. They should apply a single tax rate for all. When the prices of cigarettes are cheap or expensive, the effect is the same. You will get ill or die because of cigarettes,” said Ash Executive Director Dr. Maricar Limpin.

A group of doctors and the former secretary of the Department of Health is also in favor of increasing the tax rates for tobacco products especially since it will help improve the revenue collection of the government.

The health experts said that the government might allocate the additional amount it can collect from the tobacco excise tax to the universal health care program for Filipinos.

“In 2012, they stopped 3 million people from beginning smoking just by signing a bill. They prevented 30, 000 deaths in that span. something the entire medical profession cannot do and so the power of this bill is really very important and we need to realize that enable to push for it hard. The higher the tax, the more lives we save,” said Sin Tax Coalition convenor Dr. Antonio Dans.

The proposed laws seeking to increase the tax rates on tobacco products filed by senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejercito are still pending in the Senate.

The senators are hoping that the said proposals will advance in Congress at the soonest possible time. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

 

 

Duterte signs law on higher excise tax on tobacco

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 26, 2019

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.

Senate commends Pacquiao for win vs Thurman

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution commending boxing legend Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao for his victory over Keith Thurman.

The adopted Senate Resolution No. 20 takes into consideration the resolutions filed by Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., Juan Miguel Zubiri, Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay and Richard Gordon.

Pacquiao clinched the World Boxing Association (WBA) World Welterweight title when he bested Thurman in their fight held in Las Vegas, Nevada last July 21.

The resolution said Pacquiao should be honored for bringing “immense pride and joy to Filipinos the world over with his accomplishments as a boxer.”

“Outside the area of boxing, Senator Pacquiao has excellently fulfilled his constitutional duties as a Senator of the Republic, faithfully performing his functions as an outstanding public servant,” it added.

In reply to the commendation, Pacquiao thanked his colleagues for their support.

He said his latest win showed he can still put up a good fight with someone who is 10 years his junior.

“The abilities and skills I have are given by God. I believe that ability, skill and responsibility has a purpose and that purpose is to inspire the Filipino people to rise above their limitations and overcome their circumstances,” Pacquiao said.

With this purpose in mind, the lawmaker said he will continue his boxing career.

“There are many who say that there won’t be another Manny Pacquiao. But I believe that we have many boxers who are just waiting for an opportunity, waiting for our help. It is high time for us to invest on our boxing talents who are loaded with potentials. The so-called diamond in the rough can just be around the corner,” he added.

He also called on his fellow senators to support the proposed creation of the Philippine Boxing and Combat Sports Commission, which he believes would pave the way for the Philippines to be known as the boxing and combat sports capital of Asia.

“I am ready to work with all of you in overcoming the challenges in the 18th Congress. Together as champions of the Filipino people, we shall emerge victorious and continue our fight for the country,” Pacquiao said.

Palace: Pacquiao embodies Filipino spirit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 21, 2019

Philippine boxing legend, Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao | Courtesy: Reuters

Malacañang congratulates Senator Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao for defending his WBA welterweight belt against Keith Thurman on Sunday (July 21).

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Pacquiao made the whole country proud. Pacquiao won in a split decision and knocked down Thurman in the first round.

“Pacquiao’s victory is not only his, but of the entire nation. As such, the Palace is one in rejoicing with the Filipino people as the Pambansang Kamao once again puts the flag above the pedestal with his display of tenacity and courage,” he said.

Meanwhile other lawmakers have sent their congratulations to the Pambansang Kamao.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) also joins the Filipino people in celebrating Pacquiao’s victory.

“We share the triumph of our People’s Champ with every Filipino who cheered and pray for this latest honor for the country,” according to their statement. “Senator Pacquiao not only brought honor and glory to the country but also inspired many Filipinos to excel in their work.”—AAC (With reports from Lea Ylagan, Rosalie Coz, Harlene Delgado, Grace Casin)

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