The Sin Tax Coalition urged members of the Senate Ways and Means committee to pass a substantial increase to the excise tax on alcoholic beverages, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and electronic cigarettes.
“We would like to thank Senate Ways and Means committee chairperson Pia Cayetano for immediately scheduling a hearing to discuss the proposal to raise the taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes,” said Sin Tax coalition convener Antonio Dans.
“We hope that our senators act swiftly on the measure, and approve the highest rates possible,” he added.
The increase in sin taxes, which constitutes Package 2+ of the Department of Finance’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, was approved by the House of Representatives on second reading during their plenary session last Aug. 14.
The coalition also hopes that the reform bill will be approved on third reading today (Aug. 20).
“We are also grateful to Rep. Joey Salceda for his prompt action on the proposal to increase sin taxes in the House. As we soon expect the measure to be passed on third reading, he can be assured of the coalition’s full support,” Dans added.
According to Dans, raising taxes is an effective health measure that will regulate the use of sin products such as alcohol, e-cigarettes, and HTPs.
“Excessive alcohol consumption significantly raises the risk of non-communicable disease, as well as alcohol-related harms such as road accidents. Meanwhile, the number of cases detailing the negative health impact of e-cigarettes and HTPs is slowly rising. We must be vigilant in discouraging the use of these products, particularly to the youth, and increasing the tax on these products will be a good regulatory measure,” Dans explained.
Dans said that the tax increase will also help bridge the funding gap that still exists for the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law signed earlier this year.
“While the tax increase on cigarettes approved last Congress was a welcome step, the reality is that the revenue generated will not be enough to completely bridge the funding gap for the UHC’s first year of implementation. Given this, passing a substantial increase to the tax on alcohol, e-cigarettes, and HTPs is a necessary reform,” Dans said.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned that one of his priority measures of the present Congress was to raise the tax on alcohol and tobacco products.