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THE PHILIPPINE

10 neurs
Tobacco tax bill certified as urgent, approval likely
3y PAOLO ROMERO and transmit it to Malacaflang deaths and disabilities due to well as ensure our good health for the measure when il new and seven conditions whik
for Duterte's signature. smoking, but also generate the and wellbeing.. One of the besi (18th) Congress opens in ]uly," shouldering 90 percent of tht
The Senate is expected to Angara and Sens. Joseph Vic- much-needed funds for the parting gi{ts from the Senate Villafuerte warned. cost of prescribed medicine
>asstoday the proposal to in- tor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian Universal Health Care (UHC) this 17th Congress would be He said sufficient funding accordine to the DOH.
:rease excise taxes on tobacco and Manny Pacquiao airthored ProSfam, the passage of a law that will for UHC would make every The n"ew tax measure, il
rroducts, now certified as the proposals, which seek to At the same time, he said they reduce incidence of smoking Filipino feel the benefits of enacted into law, will expanc
rrgent by President Duterte. amend pertinent sections of could not ignore the impact of among Pinoys and at the same economic growth. PhilHealth coverage to Covel
As of press time, five sena- the National lrtemal Revenue raising the excise tax on tobacco time {und accessible and effec- "The Senate's immediate 120 drugs. With higher taxes t(
ors were poised to continue Code, by earmarking the incre- farmers, whose families are de- tive health programs for all," passage of the sin tax bill will fund the program, there will bt
heir interpellations on the mental tobacco excise tax for pendent on the industry. Hontiveros said. pave the way for the adoption no more limit to primary cafi
neasure spbnsored on Mon- human resource development "We're legislating not so "We need this increase in of an enrolled congressional treatment.
lay by Sen. Sonny'Angara, pnrgrams for health profession- much a single sweet spot but a excise taxes if we ever hope to billbefore the sine die adjoum- Meanwhile, Social Watcl
:hairman of the Senate ways als as well as for undertakings ladder where we hope aii stake- provide proper funding and ment next week which will be Philippines (SWP) said Presi.
nd means committee, aimed at combatting smug- holders involved can make a, resouries for the Universal a fitting cap to the legacy of a dent Duterte should inter.
Justice Se$etary Menardo gling and other illicit trade. The smooth hansitio&" Angara said. Health Care Act and fulfill its highly productive 17th Con- vene to facilitate the earh
Suevarra, acting as government
tobacco industrv has sustained The Deparlment/of Finance promise of affordable and ef- gress," Villafu erte said. passage of the sin tax lavi;
aretaker for the duration of seven tax hikes iin ce 2012. (DOF) said the measure would ficient healthcare in every part But Quezon Rep. Angelita The group said the fate of
)uterte's Japan kip, confirmed The committee proposed help fill in the P62-billion fund- of the country," Hontiveros, Tan, who chairs the House the measure is still uncettairl
he latter's certifying as urgent the following scheduled in- ing gap for the UHC. vice-chair of ihe Senate com- committee on health said she despite Duterte's certifyin!
ienate Bill 2233, which seeks crease: P45 per pack increase According to the Deparhnent mittee on health and demog- doesr/t think the proposed tax the bill as urgent. l
o increase excise taxes on ciga- effective Jan. 1, 2020 until Dec. of Heaith (DOH), 85 percent of raphy/ sard. adjustment would be enough "By 'taxing tobacco to thd
ettes up to P60 per pack 31, 2021, P50 in January 2021., the proceeds from the excise She added that the World to bridge the funding gap max'/ more Filipinos can be
Speaker Gloria Macapagal- P55 per pack in January 2022 tax would be used to finance Health Organization (WHO) for the progra4. She said the saved from smoking-related
lrroyo last week wrote Senate and P60 per pack effective Jan. govemment health prcgrams. has noted the effectiveness prbgram would require at least illnesses and deaths, and the
'resident Vicente Sotto III to 1, 2023. Tbls will be followed The remaining 15 percent . of higher taxes on tobacco in P270 billion a year. UHC program will be in a
nform him of the House of by a five percent annual tax of the proceeds goes td liveli- discouraging tobacco use, par- The DOF said that the first better position to provide
Lepresentatives' decision to hike starting Jan. 1, 2024. hood programs and financial ticularly among the youth and year of LrtIC's implementation comprehensive health and
dopt the Senate's version of In resorting to gradual tax assistance to tobacco farmers, impoverished sectors. ih 2020 will require some P258 integrated health prograrns for
he tax nieasure to speed up increase, Angara said the com- the DOH said. Rep. LRay Villafuerte also billion. all Filipinos," said Ma. Victoria
,assage of the bill. mittee did a delicdte balancing cited the need for the Senate \ 4thouta new sin tax reform Raquiza of SWP.
Senate Maiority Leader Juan act to eventuallv rEconcile the 'Partinglglft' to pass the new sin tax refom law, UHC will be le{t with a She said SWP "ehvisions a
4iguel Zubiri told reporters competing inierests of the One of the Senate backers of lar,r' before Congress adjourns funding gap of aroun d P62 bil- healthier Filipino population
esterday there is a "90 per- govemment, health advocates, the measure, Sen. Risa Honti- on lion in the first year alone, ac- with less smokers which will
June Z.
ent chance" of the bill getting cigarctte indusiry and tobacco veros, said the passage of SB "It would be a massive cording to economic managers. therefore result in less govem-
assed todav. farmers. 2233 would be "one of the best opportunity lost if the legis- This will also mean that ment expenditure required for
If indeed ihe measure breez- He said the authors consid- parting gifts" of the current lature fails to pass this new Philippine Health Insurance health care." - With Delon
s through the Senate, both ered the tobacco tax hike bill Congress to the people. sin la\ rek)rm law within ihis Corp. (Phi1l{ealth) members Porcalla, Rhodina Villanueva,
:gislative chambers could as an impoItant legislation that "Let us not miss this oppor- Congress (urriil
June 30) as it will continue to be covered Edu Punay, Cecille Suerte
rtify the measure on Monday would not only help reduce tunity to save Filipino lives, as would be back to square one for only 18 primary care drugs Felipe, Jess Diaz
t' o4qe*pil