SocialWatch PH calls Pres. Duterte to certify max increase of tobacco sin tax bill as urgent legislation like UHC | 15 Jul 2018
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2018
Social Watch Philippines (SWP) welcomes President Duterte’s certification of UHC as urgent legislation; calls for the same move on maximum increase of tobacco sin tax bill
Social Watch Philippines (SWP) welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte’s move on Universal Health Care (UHC) as urgent legislation on Friday.
The certification was issued during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, July 9, two weeks before the President delivers his third State of the Nation’s Address on July 23, Monday.
At a Pre-SONA forum presentation of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster members on July 11 held at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Health Secretary Francisco Duque, during the open forum, also commended the President for making Universal Health Care a priority.
The Universal Health Care Bill deemed as a huge, systems-change legislation claims at aiming to reduce the personal spending of Filipinos for health, especially the vulnerable sectors. The lower House passed the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) bill in September 2017. The Senate Committee on Health and Demography chaired by Senator JV Ejercito called for Technical Working Group meetings on July 17 and 18 to discuss the UHC substitute bill. SWP and other partner organizations advocate for a people-centered UHC – one that provides for the right of every Filipino to healthy living, working, schooling conditions and to access needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative, palliative health services that are of sufficient quality to be effective, and free at point of service, pre-paid by our taxes and social health insurance.
The framework that fosters a whole-of-system, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approach has to be clearly defined, and specific provisions on how government will implement should be evidently stated.
Meanwhile, SWP also firmly calls for the President to certify as urgent the passage of the bill increasing tobacco sin tax to the maximum level, since financing is crucial to the success and implementation of UHC. The proposed plan to pool resources from PAGCOR, PCSO, medical assistance program and other sources will not be enough to fund UHC.
The Senate Bill 1605 filed by Sen. Ejercito to raise tobacco sin tax currently lies dormant with the Senate Ways and Means Committee chaired by Senator Sonny Angara.
The Senate Bill 1605 seeks to impose a much higher tax on cigarettes - from P35 to P90 per pack this year and a nine percent annual increase after the first year of the implementation of the law.
In a letter sent to the President last month, the SWP emphasized that the increase in tobacco sin tax is primarily intended to address health issues, to lower smoking prevalence especially among the youth, and finance the Universal Health Care for All Filipinos. # #UHCLawNow #SayYesToUHC #TaxTobaccoToTheMaxNow
Social Watch Philippines (SWP) is a network of over a hundred civil society organizations and individuals engaged in research and lobby efforts in holding the government accountable for the fulfillment of national, regional and international commitments to eradicate poverty and carry out social, economic, and gender justice. SWP promotes people-centered sustainable development by proactively monitoring the progress and delivery of social commitments forged by the government and influencing the outcomes of policy decisions through citizen's participation in public finance.
Marivic Raquiza Isagani R Serrano Jeck Reyes-Cantos Rene Raya Janet Crndng Mars Mendoza Sheic Sims Dhel Lubyo AKTIB Philippines Carol Claudio Tax Tobacco to the Max RoseAnn Batuigas
SocialWatch PH calls Pres. Duterte to certify max increase of tobacco sin tax bill as urgent legislation like UHC