The Sin Tax Coalition lauds House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Joey Salceda and the Department of Health (DOH) for proposing higher excise taxes on sin products, including cigarettes, alcohol, sugar sweetened beverages, and novel tobacco products such as vapes. 

Rep. Salceda filed House Bill No. 1810, which effectively increases excise taxes on “alcopops” or pre-mixed alcohol beverages by reclassifying them as “fermented liquors.” Currently, alcopops are taxed lower than beer, despite their similar consumption pattern and attractiveness to the youth. 

Sin taxes have proven to be effective in reducing Filipinos’ consumption of sin products since the first landmark sin tax reform ten years ago. 

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the gaps in our healthcare system. This makes it all the more necessary to reduce consumption of unhealthy products and lessen the burden of tobacco and alcohol-related illnesses on our health system. COVID-19, after all, is a disease that attacks the lungs.

Moreover, sin taxes provide funding for health services and have doubled the DOH budget since 2012. 

Our funds for PhilHealth, in particular, are running low, as it has recently been noted that with funding from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), PhilHealth will only survive until 2027. PhilHealth’s OIC, Eli Dino Santos, noted that income from sin taxes would boost their budget.

A sin tax increase will ensure sustainable funding for Universal Health Care, which has yet to be fully implemented three years after the passage of the UHC Law.

We have also incurred a 62.5% debt-to-GDP ratio as of end-July due to high spending during the pandemic. Higher sin taxes are a much-needed source of funding to reduce the fiscal deficit and achieve our growth targets. 

We assure Rep. Salceda and the Department of Health that they have the full support of health advocates. We urge other legislators to prioritize this crucial health reform and help make better health outcomes and accessible healthcare a reality for every Filipino.