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Health Advocates: New Sin Taxes needed to prevent a Health Crisis

If new sin taxes are not passed within 2012, the Philippines will soon suffer a severe health crisis, advocates from the medical profession and civil society warned yesterday.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as cancer and heart disease have already reached dire levels in the Philippines, claimed Dr. Antonio Dans and Dr. Antony Leachon from the medical sector.

Anti-Reformers attempt to sabotage the administration’s sin tax bill

In a rushed, madcap meeting of the National Internal Revenue Subcommittee held at the House of Representatives on 30 January 2012, a consolidated version of the Sin Tax Bill was signed and approved by 10 members of the House, led by the Subcommittee’s chair Rep. Eric Singson Jr. of Ilocos Sur.

The ten signing Congresspersons including Rep. Singson, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales and Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City want a bill that undermines the tobacco and alcohol tax reforms.

Abad: Indexation of Sin Taxes Still an Aquino Priority Measure; P33-billion Projected Revenue for Indigent Healthcare Insurance

“The Aquino administration continues to support the indexation of sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol to inflation as a key reform measure. It is expected to generate about P60 billion, of which about P33 billion that we can use for social services for the poor, particularly universal healthcare for the second quintile of poor households,” he said, noting that the first quintile is already being fully assisted starting with the 2012 National Budget.

End Tax Haven Secrecy

Action for Economic Reforms recently joined the campaign to end tax haven secrecy.

This campaign was initiated by a coalition of organisations from around the world uniting to demand tax justice at the G20 summit in France in November 2011.

FOI Critical in Addressing Corruption

Amid an ongoing congressional investigation on deep-rooted corruption in the military, we appeal to President Aquino to reconsider inclusion of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in his list of legislative priorities. This should send the strongest signal to the country and the world that he remains truly committed to his anti-corruption agenda.

We cannot overemphasize the role that an FOI law will play in transforming government culture. As Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile observed when he explained the Senate’s commitment to the measure in the last Congress: “I think that if we do this, our desire for a more straightforward and honest government will be accomplished, because then people will have to be very, very careful and circumspect in performing their work in government, in transacting their official business, and in spending the money of the people.”

Economists Issue Statement on Capital Controls and Trade Treaties

Initiated by the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University (GDAE) and the Washington, DC-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), this economist statement calls for the United States to recognize that capital controls are legitimate prudential financial regulations that should not be subject to investor claims under U.S. trade and investment treaties.