MANILA — A group on Tuesday lauded the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means for the approval of the tax rate hike on alcoholic beverages.
“We welcome the decision of the House Ways and Means Committee to prioritize the alcohol tax increase. This reform will be effective in discouraging excessive consumption of alcohol, which has significant health consequences,” Sin Tax Coalition convenor Dr. Antonio Dans said in a statement.
The panel, by a 43-0 vote, on Tuesday adopted for plenary consideration House Bill No. 1026, which adjusts the tax rate on alcoholic beverages to fund the Universal Healthcare Law.
Looking forward to the release of the committee report, Dans said the coalition would support Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Rep. Joey Salceda as he defends the bill in the plenary.
He said the bill would be crucial in bridging the funding gap.
“The Department of Finance estimates that a funding gap of around PHP63 billion still exists for the first year of the UHC’s implementation. This measure, together with the recently passed law to increase taxes on tobacco products, will be crucial in addressing this matter,” he added.
According to the 2018 National Nutrition Survey, over half of current alcohol drinkers engage in binge drinking — consumption of five or more shots of hard liquor or bottles of beer.
Apart from increasing the risk of non-communicable diseases, binge drinking causes other alcohol-related harms such as road accidents.
Youth for Sin Tax member Gherard Tapado said the prioritization of the alcohol tax bill would help regulate alcohol consumption among minors.
“A study by the World Health Organization states that two out of three Filipinos aged 14 and below have already drank alcohol. Given that a majority of adolescents and young children are sensitive when it comes to price changes, raising the tax on alcohol will be effective in discouraging them from purchasing these products,” Tapado said. (PNA)