MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretaries unite under one cause; the funding for health promotion programs in the country. They have signed a joint statement asking legislators to include a provision for health promotion in the reformed sin tax bill. According to these former health secretaries, a portion of the revenue generated from Sin Tax should be earmarked for health promotion.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control, and over, their personal wellbeing. By bringing healthier options closer to the people, they are encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices.
“Our leaders must recognize the need for health promotion. Especially now, when non-communicable diseases greatly threatens the health of our nation,” says Dr. Esperanza Cabral, former DOH Secretary. “If we do not address this now, then we are sure to regret it in the future.”
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are characterized as chronic diseases, such as cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. In the Philippines, studies show that every 6 out of 10 deaths are caused by NCDs.
“Due to poor lifestyle choices, most Filipinos have risk factors that make them more prone to NCDs,” adds Dr. Jimmy Galvez-Tan. A study by the WHO revealed that 90% of all Filipinos have at least one risk factor that causes NCDs. “We need to encourage Filipinos to live healthier in order to lessen their chance of disease.”
In the statement, the former health secretaries emphasize that disease prevention measures, such as health promotion, should be prioritized just as much as curative measures.
“If we only focus on treating sick people, then those who are healthy today will eventually succumb to sickness in the future. Health promotion aims to ease the burden of NCDs by reducing the number of those seeking treatment, thereby assuring that the proper medical attention is given to the sick,” adds Dr. Galvez-Tan.
According to the former health secretaries, P1B is enough to ensure that all Filipinos have access to healthier options.
“By allotting P10 for every Filipino, we are assured that everyone’s right to health is protected. That is why the provision for health promotion in the Sin Tax bill is very important,” says Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice Philippines. “Sin Tax reform provides the perfect opportunity to have a sustainable fund for the implementation of these programs. Our former health leaders recognize this, we hope our legislators will too.” ###