MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino has urged lawmakers to pass sin tax reforms, saying health care for all Filipinos depends on it.
In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 23, Aquino stressed the need for improved health care services in the country, citing the high mortality rate among pregnant women.
He said additional revenues from a restructured sin tax law will help fund his administration’s universal health care program and improve the facilities of government health institutions.
“Malaki ang maiaambag ng sin tax bill,” he said in his speech. “Maipasa na sana ang sin tax bill sa lalong madaling panahon. Mababawasan ang bisyo, madadagdagan ang pondo para sa kalusugan.”
(We can easier fulfill these goals, if the sin tax bill is passed. This bill will make vice more expensive and at the same time raise more money for health.)
The House of Representatives passed the bill on final reading in June. It now needs the approval of both Congress.
If approved, the bill, which will raise excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, will generate around P32 billion additional revenues annually.
But the bill is watered down; its original version had sought to raise P60 billion revenues.
Despite this, Aquino still succeeded where his predecessors failed.
This is the first time in 15 years that a sin tax reform bill made it through the House. Previous administrations tried to restructure sin taxes, but strong industry lobbying always got in the way. – Rappler.com
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