Published July 26, 2019, 6:20 PM
By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday welcomed the signing of a law which further raises the excise tax on tobacco products.
“We are very much elated by the move of the President to increase taxes on tobacco products in order to fund Universal Health Care… This landmark law means that there will be sustained funding to achieve the intentions of the Universal Health Care Law,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Under the law–Republic Act No. 11346, taxes on cigarettes will increase incrementally starting next year. The excise tax on cigarettes will increase from P35 to P45 per pack effective January 1, 2020. It will also raise the excise tax on cigarettes to P50 per pack in 2021, P55 per pack in 2022, and P60 in 2023.
“Revenues from this law will also upgrade medical facilities, train doctors and nurses, scale-up non-communicable disease prevention services, among others,” said the health chief.
“Having higher taxes on cigarettes will mean that more people will be discouraged from taking up the smoking habit, more people will be spared from smoking-related diseases, and government’s spending for these diseases will be lessened, ultimately giving us more room to focus on our health promotion efforts,” he added.
Moreover, health advocates also lauded the passage of the said measure.
“On behalf of the health advocates, I would like to thank President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law the increase in tobacco taxes. Taxing tobacco products has proven to be one of our most effective health measures, and this latest tax increase represents another positive step in protecting more Filipinos from the harmful effects of cigarette smoking,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, convenor of Sin Tax Coalition.
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