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Consumer group opposes new tax on food products

Food Tax

Bantay Palengke, an organization of Filipino consumers, today registered their opposition to the recommendation of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to levy additional taxes on high sodium food products and sugary drinks.

Bantay Palengke Convenor Lester Codog, said “Any additional tax is an additional price burden. We know for a fact that many poor Filipinos rely on cheap instant noodles and canned goods due to our current economic situation. How will they manage their meager budget if we will add another 10 pesos on every 100 grams of affordable products that can help them ease hunger?”

Diokno proposed to impose a P10 tax per 100 grams or P10 per 100 milliliters of prepackaged food products that have either high salt or high sugar content. The finance chief also asserted that these new taxes are “proactive measures to [address] diabetes, obesity and noncommunicable diseases related to poor diet.”

“We don’t argue on the health issues resulting from the consumption of junk food. Pero ang junk food para sa iilan ay pantawid-gutom para sa mas marami nating kababayan. There are other ways to approach this problem without adding another burden to our people. As for the need for revenue, we suggest that the government address the inefficiency in our tax collection first and plug the leaks in revenue collection,” Codog responded.

Bantay Palengke is also looking to propose ways for the government to subsidize healthy food such as fruits and vegetables so poor people will be able to afford more nutritious food.

“This could be a win-win situation for both our farmers and consumers, for the management of food prices and for health. It should be clarified, however, that the subsidies should come first before we consider any new tax on the poor’s staple food,” Codog added.

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