Senator Pia S. Cayetano welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s certification of the Senate’s version of the sin tax bill as urgent.
“I have always known that the President and I are aligned when it comes to regulating cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and alcohol products. But this certification is much appreciated because it sends a message to all the members of the Senate that this is a priority measure,” the senator said.
Issued on Tuesday, November 12, the certification signed by President Rodrigo Duterte cited the urgent need to pass Senate Bill No. 1074 to generate additional revenue to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act. (See attached file)
Cayetano is the sponsor of SB No. 1074, which seeks to increase excise taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes, including heated tobacco products (HTPs) and vapes. The measure is currently in the period of interpellations.
Cayetano said she is hopeful that her fellow senators would likewise welcome the urgency of passing higher sin taxes to protect the right to health of Filipinos.
“A vote for sin tax is a vote for our people’s health and well-being,” she noted, while adding that she remains committed to respond to her colleagues’ concerns on SB No. 1074.
“I am pushing for a version that recommends higher tax rates than those approved by the House of Representatives for two reasons: first, it will provide proper funding for the delivery of health services to all Filipinos; and second, it will effectively reduce the consumption of sin products,” the senator said.
“There is a need to increase sin taxes substantially for it to have any health impact. Otherwise, we will fall short at meeting our health objectives,” she added.
“We cannot save lives by increasing the price of a sin product by a negligible amount. We can only make this an effective measure when the price increase is substantial enough that people would think twice on the volume of the products they will purchase and consume,” Cayetano concluded.
The Department of Finance (DOF) estimates that Cayetano’s proposed rates would generate P47.9 billion for UHC next year, and a total of P356.9 billion for the program over the next five years.