Yosi Kadiri is back for gov’t campaign to increase sin tax on tobacco

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 17, 2019   •   1835

The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Health (DOH) have revived Yosi Kadiri for their campaign to increase sin taxes on tobacco.

Increasing taxes on tobacco will further increase the fund of the expanded Universal Healthcare Law, according to the DOF and DOH.

The Finance and Health department launched a new ad featuring Senator Manny Pacquiao in a fight against the iconic Yosi Kadiri with the campaign’s tagline “Hindi pa tapos ang laban.”

“Pacquaio, who is better known as “Pacman” or the “Pambansang Kamao,” is shown in the new ad as a champion of the Filipino people’s health,” the Department of Finance said in their Facebook statement.

READ: Benefits under the Universal Health Care Act

Their campaign aims to gain more public support as well as call on legislators to pass, the bill increasing “sin” taxes on tobacco products.

PH gov’t to close down tax-evading POGOs

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to close down and file charges against Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) including their service providers that fail or refuse to settle the tax liabilities of their foreign workers.

In a statement, the DOF said its chief, Carlos Dominguez III, issued the order following reports of slow collection of withholding income taxes from select POGOs with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion despite the issuance of 130 letter-notices to these firms.

“Why don’t we start closing them down so they will answer these assessments. Those who don’t pay or respond to your assessments, clamp them down” Dominguez said during an interagency meeting held last Sept. 13.

During the meeting, the BIR reported that it only collected P1.4 billion in withholding taxes from POGOs from January to August this year. This is 242 percent higher than the taxes collected in 2018, which was P579 million, and in 2017 which amounted to P175 million.

An inter-agency body earlier said there were around 138,000 foreign nationals working for 58 offshore gaming firms licensed to operate in the Philippines.

Dominguez said the BIR should ensure that the payment of the tax liabilities should account for each foreign worker in POGOs and to reject any “lump sum” offer or any other arrangement in paying their tax arrears.

“The collection should be per individual,” Finance chief told BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa.

“You force the issue and you bring them to court. I mean, close them down,” he added.

The BIR said it has coordinated with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for the implementation of the order.

In August, the Philippine government has started implementing strict measures for POGOs and suspended the acceptance of new applications due to some concerns.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said POGOs will continue to be allowed to operate in the Philippines primarily to provide employment to Filipinos.

However, he warned online gaming operators they will be closed down if they fail to remit right taxes.

FDA orders DOH-controlled hospitals to report vape-related injuries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 11, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Department of Health (DOH)-controlled hospitals to report cases that are related to using vape.

This was after health officials in the United Stated confirmed on Tuesday (September 10) that a 50-year-old man died of lung disease linked to vape use.

According to Dr. Anton Javier, project manager of Product Research and Standards Development Division Center for Cosmetics in the FDA, they might not monitor any illnesses related to using vape just yet because of the latency period.

“Because of the latency period nga po baka po wala pa tayo makita just yet. Pwede po kasing nagve-vape ka ngayon pero iyong mga magiging sakit niyo down the line pa, (Because of the latency period, we might not see [incidence] just yet. You can actually use vape now but your illness might appear down the line)” he said.

However, an expert said the confirmed case in the United States should not be a cause of alarm.

“It’s been well proven by laboratories in the US that deaths in Kansas whatever it is, has got nothing to do with e-cigarettes its what these people has put in e cigarettes that contains adulterated contaminants of cannabis,” according to Harm Reduction Expert Dr. Tikki Pang.

The FDA had previously released a regulation on using vape or e-cigarettes. Manufacturers or retailers were given until October 25 to register their products to the FDA.

The FDA has also warned against the dangers of the chemicals found in vape products. This include cynemaldehide which causes blockage in the lungs which can lead to difficulty in breathing.

Another dangerous chemical, according to the FDA, is diacetyl which causes bronchylitis or inflammation of the lungs.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

What is Leptospirosis and how can you avoid it?

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019

The risk of getting water-borne illnesses, like leptospirosis, is often much greater during the rainy season.

Health experts said this is because floodwaters and other extreme weather-related events cause rodents and other wild and domesticated species to move into the city.

In the Philippines, cases of leptospirosis have been spiking in the recent weeks due to rains and heavy flooding.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that from January 1 to August 3 this year, more than 900 cases of leptospirosis were recorded, 300 of which are from Metro Manila. Out of these cases, 106 fatalities were reported.

READ: Leptospirosis cases now over 900

According to the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It is an infection in both wild and domesticated animals but rodents are implicated most often in human cases.

Human infection can occur through “direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, soil and plants.”

The most common route of infection is exposure to water contaminated by urine, such as floodwaters, and through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes.

How leptospirosis affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when leptospirosis bacteria enter the body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells.

“Kapag halimbawa after ng isang bagyo tapos lumusong sa baha tapos may bukas na sugat sa paa, usually pwedeng makapasok yung Leptospirosis (bacteria) sa open wound sa paa… Tapos dala ng dugo, iikot sa buong katawan yung leptospiros at magkakaroon ng mga sintomas ng leptospirosis,” Abad said.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how leptospirosis affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is two to four days.

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.

But according to Abad, many of leptospirosis’ symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, so it is important for a person suspected with this infection to seek immediate medical consultation and tests.

“Kapag (tingin) po na may posibilidad na leptospirosis, kailangan dalhin sa ospital para mabantayan yung mga sintomas. Kailangan din pong ma-diagnose ito, usually through some blood test, puwedeng blood culture o kaya may diagnostic test para malaman kung leptospirosis or hindi,” she said.

What to do to prevent infection?

To avoid leptospirosis, health experts advise the public to take up measures, which include:

  • Avoiding swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood water.
  • Use of proper protection like boots and gloves when work requires exposure to contaminated water.
  • Draining of potentially contaminated water when possible.
  • Control rats in the household by using rat traps or rat poison, maintaining cleanliness in the house.

The illness usually lasts for a few days to three weeks or longer and can be treated with antibiotics. But without treatment, recovery may take several months.

The more severe phase of the disease may lead a person to have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

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