Ejercito, Hontiveros wants the tobacco tax to be increased to P90 per package



Sen. JV Ejercito said on Wednesday that they were "determined" to increase the tobacco tax by as much as P90 per pack, as this would not only contribute to reducing the prevalence of smoking in the country, but would also provide the much-needed fund for the proposed universal health care bill.

On the basis of his office calculations, Ejercito said that the government was still around the P50 billion deficit to ensure that the country had a "real" universal health care system.

The fund has been pooled from the sources of the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corp., as well as contributions from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Given that tobacco manufacturers should resist the adjustment, Ejercito said they could agree with a P60 per package.

Referring to the available data Sen said. Risa Hontiveros that the tobacco tax, which currently amounts to P32.50 per pack, has contributed to the reduction of smoke prevalence in the country from 31 percent in 2008 to 23 percent in 2015.

"If we raise the tobacco tax rates to at least P60 per package, with an annual increase of 10 per cent, we could have more than one million [fewer] smokers by 2022, "she said. -Jovic Yee

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