MANILA -- Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said his proposal to double the excise tax on cigarettes is seen to prevent 850,000 new smokers on its first year of implementation.
INCREASING THE EXCISE TAX ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS - Sen. JV Ejercito Estrada pushes Senate Bill No. 1605, which seeks to increase the excise tax on tobacco products - in a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “My intention in pushing for this measure is to raise funds for the implementation of the universal health care program once the “Universal Health Care for All Filipinos Act” bill, which I authored and sponsored, becomes a law.”
During the Senate ways and means committee hearing on tobacco tax bills, Pacquiao said increasing the tax on the sin product will not only raise funds for the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) program but will also help curb smoking.
“Tobacco tax increase will help raise revenues. Magkakaroon ng funding ang universal health care (There would be funding for the universal health care). We need that, but remember: there are other benefits beyond the revenues and funding,” Pacquiao said.
“By increasing tobacco tax, we would be able to prevent an estimated 850,000 new smokers on the first year of implementation. Kapag may ginawa tayo, kaya nating pigilan ang masamang epekto ng paninigarilyo (If we do something, we could prevent the harmful effects of smoking),” he added.
He said there are currently 13 million Filipino smokers, and 1.2 million more are expected by 2022.
“Most of the victims are from the youth and marginalized sectors, people who have no means of paying for the harmful effects of smoking. We have to protect the youth from smoking, which is highly addictive,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao filed Senate Bill 1599, which seeks to increase the current cigarette tax rate from PHP30 per pack to PHP60 per pack. This is aside from the annual increase of 9 percent from the current 4 percent increase in excise tax per year.
Pacquiao said his tax bill is supported by the Department of Health and Department of Finance, noting that President Rodrigo Duterte even approved the recommendation of the agencies to back this bill.
He urged the committee to approve the “very urgent measure” before session ends next week. (PNA)
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