SENATE – Senator Manny Pacquiao wants a higher tax on tobacco not only to collect more revenues but, above all, to protect the people’s health.
Senator Pacquiao stressed “Human body is sacred. We should not destroy or desecrate it.”
Senator Pacquiao quoted 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, which says “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
Senator Pacquiao filed on Oct. 3 Senate Bill 1599, which sought to further increase the excise tax on tobacco products.
Once the bill is approved, the current cigarette tax rate of P30 per pack will increase to P60 per pack. This is aside from the annual increase of 9% from the current 4% increase in excise tax per year.
The implementation of the Sin Tax Reform Act (RA 10351) has been proven effective in minimizing if not totally stopping the smoking habit and in raising funds for public health.
RA 10351 was passed in 2012 primarily to curb cigarette and alcohol addiction, as well as, to raise government funds for the implementation of Universal Health Care (UHC).
The senator from Mindanao had asked Sen. Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, to include Senate Bill 1599 in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).
The boxer-lawmaker has earned the admiration of youths and health advocates for taking the lead in passing a measure increasing tax for tobacco products.
Cigarette smoking has been linked to several chronic health problems like obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, hypertension and heart ailment, among others.(MRO-O/S Pacquiao)