Previously, President Duterte made Davao City a smoke-free city. Dr. Tony Leachon, a cardiologist said that the president can expand the smoke-free places nationwide.
Leachon was qouted saying: “Perhaps he is busy now with the first six months, but I think the thrust right now on free hospitalization has an impact on this because the funds that will be generated from the sin tax will be actually decreased. This will hamper or dampen the projects of the government to provide universal health care for all.”
A proposed two-tiered system can’t sufficiently cover the government’s health care program, according to Leachon. The president centerpiece campaign targets the tobacco smoke, which took the lives of many people rather than illegal drugs.
Leachon also said that it is the time for the president to focus on health services and to turn away from his anti-illegal drug campaign. He said that Duterte should also give ears to the delivery of services. Dr. Antonio Dans, sin tax law advocate also agreed that the government should focus on tobacco problems in the country.
Dans said if illegal drugs destroy lives, tobacco were taking people lives slowly. Increasing the price of tobacco cigarettes can prevent people from making smoking as their habit. The current six tax law failed to reduce the numbers of current smokers.
Leachon explained that imposing a higher tax on tobacco’s can prevent smokers from smoking. The two-tier tax rate system was favored by House majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas. ABS party-list Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera filed the House Bill 4144 last October 2016.
The bill will impose a P32 and P36 tax increase per cigarette pack for a total of P68 per pack. This system could generate more revenues compared to the previous one and at the same smokers will be discouraged to smoke due to the cigarettes’ higher price.