Philippines - House of Representatives turns down proposal to hke tax on cigarettes by 400%..

August 31, 2010 - House of Representatives members today gave a cold shoulder on the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (FCAP) to increase by 400% the tax on cigarettes to stop smoking in the country.

The Department of Health (DOH) is pushing for a 400% increase in the tax on cigarettes. The tax hike would bring up the price of a cigarette stick from P2 to P7, and a pack from P30 to P120. The DOH said the move would help reduce the number of smokers in the country, deter the youth who comprise 20% of the smoking population while allowing government to raise revenue to bring down the budget deficit.

Philippines - President Aquino has stated he will prioritize increase in the tax on cigarettes..;

Philippines - DOH pushing for hefty tax increase on cigarettes...
Rep. Simeon Datumanong (2nd District, Maguindanao) said he is against any imposition of new taxes since these would only add to the suffering of the Filipino people.
Rep. Patricio Antonio (Party-list, Agbiag) said the increase on tax cigarette will surely affect the livelihood of thousands of tobacco farmers in the Ilocos region who rely on tobacco industry as their main source of livelihood.

Antonio said the 400 percent increase on cigarette tax is not assurance that the people will stop smoking. "They could probably shift to a low price brand or just go back to the traditional rolling of cigarette which has been a practice in many parts of the country," said Antonio, who represents the Ilocanos in the lower chamber.

Rep. Jeci Lapus (3rd District, Tarlac) said making cigarettes expensive will not discourage people from smoking. "To discourage smoking, advocates should present the result of studies on the ill effects of smoking on the environment and health," Lapus said. Lapus said the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue would be in a better position to state the tax rate on cigarettes if the government pushes through with the tax hike.

Rep. Pedro Romualdo (Lone District, Camiguin) expressed apprehension on the proposal saying it is impossible to stop anyone from smoking even if the government increased the tax on cigarette by 1000 percent.

Reference: Solons not keen on supporting DOH proposal to hike cigarette taxes by 400 percent, Writer: Rowena B. Bundang, MRS-PRIB, Press Release - Hpose of Representatives, 8/27/2010.

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