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DOH lauds approval of bill on higher alcohol tax

August 18, 2019 - Sunday 7:08 AM by PNA

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MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday lauded the House Committee on Ways and Means for the approval of House Bill No. 1026, which seeks to increase taxes on alcohol products.

The panel, by a 43-0 vote, on Tuesday adopted for plenary consideration the bill, which seeks to give distilled spirits, fermented liquors, and wines an ad valorem tax on top of a specific tax depending on the volume per category of alcoholic beverage.

The specific tax would increase by 7 percent annually starting in 2020 for wines, and in 2023 for distilled spirits and fermented liquors.

“I commend the House of Representatives, specifically the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Congressman Joey Salceda of Albay, for sponsoring this bill. The continuing partnership between DOH and the House of Representatives is certainly a positive proof that we are united in protecting the health of the Filipino people,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

The DOH said reports and studies on alcohol strongly recommend implementation of aggressive public policies for the reduction of alcohol consumption, including increasing taxes to make these products less affordable and accessible, especially to the youth.

According to the Food Nutrition and Research Institute’s Clinical and Health Survey, more than half of Filipinos aged 20 to 59 engage in harmful use of alcohol in the form of binge drinking or excessive consumption in one sitting.

The same survey showed the youth are also at risk for adverse health effects of alcohol consumption. It is reported that among Filipino youth aged 10 to 19, 14.9 percent consume alcohol, and 36.7 percent of these are underage drinkers.

The DOH Online National Electronic Injury Surveillance System has reported that the road and traffic accidents attributed to alcohol has reached a total of 10,372 fatal and non-fatal accidents from 2016 to 2018 nationwide.

"Increasing the excise tax on alcohol products is the best buy and win-win intervention for reducing alcohol consumption and increasing revenue for health. Building on the public health impact of Republic Act No. 10351, or the Sin Tax Law of 2012, the DOH supports all undertakings to increase taxation on alcohol," the DOH said. (PNA)