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SEN. PACQUIAO BACKS HIKE ON ALCOHOL EXCISE TAX


PhilBoxing.com




SENATE ? After advocating for a higher tax on cigarettes, Sen. Manny Pacquiao is hellbent on pushing for an increase in alcohol excise tax.

In 2017, Pacquiao sponsored Senate Bill 1599, proposing to increase tobacco tax rate of PhP30 pesos per pack to PhP60 pesos starting 2018 and nine percent per year thereafter.

SB 1599 is now being taken up at the Bicameral Conference level.

Some individuals representing the tobacco industry had approached Pacquiao to lobby for a lower excise tax on tobacco products, but the Mindanao lawmaker refused to budge.

?This is for the interest of our country and the welfare of the greater majority. So, I stood pat on my decision to push for a higher excise tax on tobacco products,? Pacquiao said.

In a meeting with the representatives of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday morning (Feb. 4) right in his office, Pacquiao vowed to support the agencies? proposal to impose higher excise tax on alcohol products.

The DOF and the DOH are pushing for alcohol tax reform to source out funding for the full implementation of the government?s Universal Health Care (UHC) Law and to dissuade the public from excessive alcohol intake.

The DOF claimed that the government needs around PhP40 billion additional funding for the first year implementation of UHC program.

The UHC Act is set to be implemented starting this year.

According to the DOF, the current alcohol excise tax collections are not proportionate to prevailing rate of alcohol consumption throughout the country.

DOH 2015 data showed that around 55 percent or more than half of the country?s total population belonging to age bracket 20 years old and above indulge in binge drinking.

Out of that figure, 58.8 percent are males while 41.9 percent are females.

Based on the 2018 data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, alcohol is the seventh leading risk factor for deaths and is, in fact, the leading risk factor for deaths among people aged 15-49 years old.

Also, 2018 data from Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health showed that 66 percent cases of liver cirrhosis among males were caused by excessive alcohol intake.

According to the DOH record, around 2,875 road mishaps resulting to death were cause by binge drinking.

The DOH believed that binge drinkers should be held responsible for the negative alcohol effects ? crimes, drunk driving, domestic violence and loss of productivity ? in society.

The DOF-DOH alcohol tax reform, proposed a 67 percent price hike from PhP24 to PhP40 on all fermented liquors ? Beer, Ale, Basi, Lager, Porter and Tapuy ? starting 2019, then five-peso price increase every year until 2022.

On distilled spirits which include Gin, Brandy, Vodka, Whiskey, Rum and Tequila, the proposal was 167 percent price increase ? from PhP22.5 to PhP60 ? beginning this year then around PhP5 price hike every year until 2022.

The DOF-DOH proposed about 10 percent price surge on sparkling wines/champagnes, while around 10 percent upsurge was also being pushed on all still wines and carbonated wines.

The DOF-DOH claimed target revenues that may be generated from the increase in alcohol excise tax would be enough to finance the implementation of UHC Act.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Aquiles Z. Zonio.


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