The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said the government aims to reduce number of Filipino smokers from 21 percent to less than 15 percent by 2022.
“Ang goal kasi natin is 2022 (The goal by 2022 is) to have less than 15 percent of Filipinos smoking. Right now, nasa 21 percent na tayo ‘no (we’re at 21 percent),” DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo in a weekly economic briefing in Malacañang.
Domingo said the implementation of excise tax on tobacco have significantly reduced the number of smokers in the country.
“Ang immediate impact talaga (The immediate impact) is the number of smokers. Kaya nga hinihiling namin na itaas talaga uli iyong tax para hindi na siya kayang bilhin ng mga kabataan (That is why we are requesting for taxes to be raised again so the youth can’t afford buy it),” he said.
He described the increase in sin taxes is a ‘win-win’ solution as it discourages people from having vices while raising government’s revenue at the same time.
“Nakita natin sa buong mundo po, kapag tumaas talaga ang buwis ng tabako, nababawasan po talaga ang smokers lalung-lalo na sa kabataan, hindi na nila napi-pick up iyong habit, at saka iyong mga mahihirap, sila iyong unang–unang nagku-quit. (Globally, we can see that if taxes on tobacco go up, the number of smokers, especially among the youth, are reduced as they do not pick up the habit, the poor are also the one to quit first),” Domingo said.
“Ngayon, since hindi naman kasi completely bawal na produkto, kapag po tumaas ang buwis sa kanya, kahit po kumonti ang gumagamit sa kanya, iyong buwis na nako-collect natin tumataas din (Now, since there is no total prohibition of these products, when taxes imposed are higher, revenues still go up even if we have a smaller number of users),” he added.
In the same briefing, Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said that revenues from the proposed higher sin taxes on tobacco and alcoholic beverages will boost government’s funds for healthcare program.
Lambino said DOF supports Senator Manny Pacquiao’s bill seeking to increase the tobacco excise tax by at least PHP25 per pack.
“We support the increase in the excise by at least PHP25 compared to where we are now. The current excise on a pack of cigarettes is at PHP35 – so at least PHP25. That is where Senator Pacquiao’s bill sets the level,” he said. (Earl Jed Roque/PNA)