Dominguez cites benefits of less ‘sin products’ consumption

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MANILA — Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez vowed that government’s drive against the illicit cigarette trade will continue but admitted that there will always be those who will try to engage in the illegal trade.

This, as he stressed the agency’s support for legislative measures that will hike taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.

“I think where the profit is bigger people will enter but we want to make the risk of failure higher. And we will be able to handle it,” he said.

Last week, Dominguez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque held a press briefing to give their support to Senate Bill No. 1599, authored by Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, after noting that this measure closely follows proposals made earlier by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Health (DOH).

Under SB 1599, excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products will be increased from the current rate of PHP35 per pack to PHP60 per pack on the first year of the law’s implementation and increase further by nine percent annually for several years thereafter.

For alcoholic products, both Departments are proposing the increase of excise tax to at least PHP40 per liter and a unitary tax system for fermented liquors.

Dominguez and Duque the proposed measure is more of a health-related measure than a revenue-generating one.

The finance chief said they want to reduce people’s consumption of sin products, especially among the poor, since this is certain to negatively affect their health.

“The more you smoke the less healthy you are so actually if you smoke less people will be requiring health care,” he said.

Duque earlier said that without the increase of excise tax on sin products the health of about 250,000 Filipinos will be at risk every year since government will be unable to fully fund the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law. -PNA

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