SWP turns-over 200k signatures to Sen. Ejercito in support of UHC & Tobacco Tax increase | SWP Photo & Press Release 26 Sep 2018
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2018
Social Watch Youth and Community Leaders turn-over 200k signatures to Senator Ejercito in support of UHC and Tobacco Tax increase
Around 250 students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Social Watch Philippines (SWP) Youth gathered to turn-over the 200,000 signatures to Senator Joseph Victor JV Ejercito in support of the passage of the Universal Health Care bill and Tobacco Tax Increase bill on Thursday during a Manila Youth Leader’s Assembly.
The 200,000 signatures were gathered by SWP from different universities and families from poor communities in the National Capital Region, underscoring popular support for universal health care and tobacco tax increase. The number equates to the estimated annual number of Filipinos who will be prevented from starting to smoke if the tax on cigarettes per pack will be increased to at least 100 percent more than the current unitary rates.
“Despite the increase of tobacco products in 2012, our cigarettes are still the cheapest around the world. So instead of taxing oil products to raise additional revenues, why not tax the tobacco products? This way, we will lessen the smokers in our country.” Ejercito said.
Ejercito, author of Senate Bill 1605 which seeks to increase tobacco tax to P90 per pack, welcomes the overwhelming support of the youth to the tobacco tax increase. Senator Ejercito is also the main sponsor of the Senate Bill 1896 or the Universal Health Care Bill, certified as urgent measure by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is important that we tax tobacco to the max!” Ejercito said, reiterating SWP’s campaign tagline “Tax Tobacco to the Max” which supports the passage of the highest tobacco tax rate. Senators Pacquiao and Ejercito filed tobacco tax increase bills in 2017, pending at the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Senator Sonny Angara.
Aside from the health impact of taxing tobacco, he also emphasized the importance of the passage of the Senate Bill 1605 to support the funding needs of the Universal Health Care Bill. “Financing po ang pinaka-challenge natin sa Universal Health Care Bill, billions of pesos po kailangan natin to fund Universal Health Care, (financing is the major challenge for the Universal Health Care Bill, billions of pesos are required to fund Universal Health Care), we will need additional source of revenue, that is, from tobacco tax increase.” Ejercito said.
The financing for the full implementation of the Universal Health Care Bill is estimated at P270 billion in the first year alone.
“Marami po’ng umaasang mga mahihirap na Pilipino sa pagkapasa ng Universal Health Care, Mr. Senator kaya nagpapasalamat po kami sa inyong kasipagan para masiguro na mayroon itong pondo (Poor Filipinos look forward to the passage of Universal Health Care, Mr. Senator, we thank you for your hard work in ensuring that UHC will be funded)” said Sara Salvador, National Coordinator of a coalition of community organizations, AKTIB.
Meanwhile, as part of voters’ education program of the youth, PUP Youth and Social Watch Youth vowed to support Senators JV Ejercito and former Congressman Erin Tañada, (who was also guest speaker at the assembly) for their efforts for the passage of people-centered legislation such as the Universal Health Care bill. ###
#TaxTobaccoToTheMaxNow #TaxTobaccototheMax4UHC #RaiseTobaccoTax4UHC #health #social #yosi #sigarilyo #smoking
Isagani R Serrano Marivic Raquiza Jeck Reyes-Cantos Rene Raya Janet Crndng Mars Mendoza Sheic Sims Dhel Lubyo AKTIB Philippines Carol Claudio Tax Tobacco to the Max Elijah San Fernando RoseAnn Batuigas Maria Fatima Villena Ralph Emerson Degollacion Lottie Salarda Ryan Earnest Goingco Pineda Bawas Bisy
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