HealthJustice Philippines, a public health think tank and advocacy group with expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, welcomes the proposal of Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to increase taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and sweetened beverages, among others. “[A bill] was submitted to congress, [in which] the tax will depend on the sugar content,” Paula Alvarez, Spokesperson of the DoF, also said.
This came following the statement issued by President Duterte during the first State of the Nation Address regarding lowering the maximum personal income tax rate and plans to exempt those with income of P25000 per month or less from paying the personal income tax.
“We support the proposal of the Department of Finance Secretary to impose higher taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and soft drinks. Higher taxes, in this case, are primarily health measures. By imposing them, we are discouraging people from making unhealthy choices and encouraging them to have healthier lifestyles,” said Atty. Irene Reyes, Managing Director of HealthJustice.
HealthJustice has been campaigning in favour of higher taxes on tobacco products, liquor and soft drinks and sweetened beverages. In November 2015, the group released a statement supporting a House Bill proposing to impose 10-percent ad valorem tax on soft drinks, saying it would address increasing obesity n the Philippines.
“240 Filipinos die every day due to smoking-related illnesses. 29.9 per cent of the Filipinos are obese. These are compelling reasons to push for higher taxes in favour of the health of the Filipino people,” Reyes added.