Tobacco tax bill pressed

Risa Hontiveros

“THE Senate must finish strong on health reforms in the closing stretch of the 17th Congress.”

This was the statement issued yesterday by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros as she pushed for the immediate passage of a bill increasing excise taxes for tobacco products to fund key services under the country’s universal health care program.

Hontiveros said that the passage of the measure will reduce the incidence of smoking among Filipinos and at the same time fund accessible and effective health programs for all.

“Let us not miss this opportunity to save Filipino lives, as well as ensure our good health and well-being. One of the best parting gifts from the Senate this 17th Congress would be the passage of a law that will reduce incidence of smoking among Pinoys and at the same time fund accessible and effective health programs for all,” she said.

Hontiveros, who is the Vice-chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said that revenues from higher taxes on tobacco products would provide much-needed funding for the full implementation cost of the Universal Health Care Act (RA 11233), pegged at P258 billion.