Consumer welfare advocacy group Laban Konsyumer on Monday criticized the filing of the Asin bill, saying it was untimely and could further heat up discussions in Congress following the ongoing debate on the sugar tax.
Laban Konsyumer president Victorio Dimagiba said health issues were not the compelling reason for the bill.
“Health issue should not be always (be addressed) by imposing new taxes. In the case of salt, there is a national program on iodized salt through the Asin law administered by the National Nutrition Council. So why always taxes?” he asked.
If the objective was health, then the author of the bill should review and study the effective implementation of the Asin Law which was passed in 1995, Dimagiba said.
“Salt intake per se is not the issue,” he said.
HB 3719, or the Asin Bill, was filed in Congress imposing a new excise tax on the salt content of manufactured and processed foods. The bill purportedly aims to address the health issue of too much salt intake by consumers.
The bill proposes a tax of P1 on every milligram of sodium in excess of one-third of the allowable daily intake of sodium chloride as prescribed by the Department of Health.” The bill applies “on manufactured goods that have sodium chloride, or any of its derivatives, as an ingredient and which include but are not limited to canned goods, processed food, and junk food.”
The Asin Law, meanwhile, declared that the proper consumption of salt was a nutrition policy of the state.
The NNC under the law requires iodization of salt to stimulate brain development, especially of school age children.
Laban Konsyumer noted the adequate achievement of the use of iodized salt at the local and regional levels since the law was implemented 20 years ago.
It also questioned the enforcement action taken to address the use of industrial salt for human consumption and the level of compliance of manufactured and processed foods with the NNC guidelines.