Palace banks on sin tax bill for hospital upgrades
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is banking on the sin tax reform bill to fund health services and upgrade hospitals in 2013.
In a press briefing on Monday, November 5, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government hopes that proceeds from the sin tax reforms will plug the health sector's budget gap of P23 billion in 2013.
Health services will cost P77 billion, but the government only managed to budget P54 billion in 2013. Malacañang has said they were hoping the lawmakers will pass a version that will raise at least P40 billion additional revenues every year.
Valte said they hope the lawmakers will pass the legislative measure that seeks to increase taxes on cigarette and tobacco products so the government could building more health facilities, district hospitals, and fund premiums for indigent members of Philhealth.
"We remain hopeful that the sin tax measure will be given due consideration by our senators. It is obviously in everybody's national interest to keep looking at the sin tax measure and to see what good it can do for the health sector," Valte said.
Failure to pass the measure may deprive other hospitals of "much-needed upgrade" because the government has banked solely on the sin tax bill.
"Some of the facilities may not be able to get their much-needed upgrade, or their repair, rehab," Valte said.
"At this point, were not looking at other contingencies yet…When that happens, we'll see if other sources will have to be looked into for those funds."
Under the original plan, 85% of additional revenue from the sin tax bill will be used to finance the Aquino government's universal health care program, which primarily aims to provide the poorest families with health insurance.
The rest of the revenue will be used to assist tobacco farmers in shifting to other crops. - Rappler.com
More on the Sin tax bill:
- ‘Aquino phone calls needed for better sin tax bill’
- Drilon’s ‘weight loss’ plan? Sin tax, budget by year-end
- Lower sin tax, less health care for poor
- BISYO: A special report on Sin Tax
- Vitug Vlogs: Aquino's ratings and the sin tax bill
- 'Revenues from sin tax bill to contain 2013 PH deficit'
- Half of Pinoy smokers likely to quit if sin taxes increase - survey