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Cigarette prices to increase more with passage of Universal Health Care Bill – DOH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2018

 

A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray filled with cigarette. | REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

MANILA, Philippines – The prices of cigarettes are seen to go up further as higher tariffs are set to be imposed on tobacco products to fund the Universal Health Care Bill, which aims to provide Filipinos with access to health services.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the increase in tobacco prices is due to the new round of sin taxes which will be on top of the hikes under the first package of the Tax Reform Law.

The tax hikes will be a major source of funding once The Universal Health Care Law is enacted. Over P135B fund is needed for the first year of its implementation and a total of P256B for the fourth year.

“Eighty-five percent (85%) of the incremental proceeds will go to health and 80% of the 85% share of the health sector doon pupunta sa PhilHealth at iyon namang bente porsyento ay para mapondohan ang ating mga health facilities enhancement program,” Duque explained.

Though the amount of the price increase still depends on the decision of the lawmakers, Secretary Duque believes this is a win-win solution for the health of the Filipinos.

He also supports Senator Jv Ejercito’s proposal to hike cigarette prices to P90.00 per pack. If the Congress approves the bill, the government will collect more revenue compared to the current P35.00 price per pack in 2019.

“Magkakaroon po tayo ng proceeds po ng about P45B. Malaking bahagi nito mapupunta sa pagpondo ng PhilHealth para doon po sa mahihirap na walang kakayahang magbayad ng kanilang pagiging miyembro,” he added.

The health official believes this move would also save more lives and reduce the number of smokers. It would also save the government billions of pesos in treating sick Filipino smokers.

Our target is to really bring it down to the 14% level of smoking prevalence from a high of 21.47% pero iyang 21. 47% bumaba na rin iyan kasi nagkaroon na rin tayo ng sin tax,” he concluded. F

The World Health Organization has reported that 17 Filipinos are dying every hour due to smoking.- Aiko Miguel / UNTV News and Rescue

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Healthcare funding gap to get bigger if no sin tax increase —DOF

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Courtesy : Pixabay & Pexels

The Department of Finance (DOF) said there will be a funding gap of P62 billion for the recently passed Universal Health Care (UHC) if Congress will not increase sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

In a press briefing of the DOF and the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday (May 17), DOF Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III said there would be difficulty in implementing the UHC without new sources of revenue.

“If we do not establish new sources of revenue, we will not have enough funds to properly, fully implement Universal Health Care and ensure a better quality of life for all Filipinos,” he said.

He adds that if the increased sin taxes will be approved, the UHC can cover around 120 drugs to Filipinos.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said raising taxes will also reduce consumption leading to better health for Filipinos.

“Sin tax is first and foremost a health measure. When the prices of cigarettes and alcohol are higher, it is harder, especially for the youth to buy these very harmful products. We can only reduce consumption by making these “sin” products less affordable to consumers,” he said.

Both departments also envisioned the Philippines to be one of the healthiest in Asia by 2040. They propose to increase tobacco taxes by P60 per cigarette and P40 per liter of alcohol.

“With 9 days remaining in the 17th Congress, there is still time to collectively take action. We look forward to the support of our counterparts in the legislature, during this crunch time. This is the final round, tapusin na natin ang boksing, (Let’s finish the fight)” Duque added.

Senator Manny Pacquiao filed Senate Bill 1599 which aims to increase tobacco excise tax to P60 per pack in the first year of implementation, and an additional nine percent each year afterwards.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 2177 raising tobacco taxes to P70 per pack while Senator JV Ejercito filed Senate Bill 1605 increasing tobacco taxes to P90 per pack.

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DOH: even a little water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has raised concerns during the ongoing water shortage in Metro Manila and nearby areas especially with the increasing dengue cases in the country.

The recent report of DOH Epidemiology Bureau has recorded 40,614 dengue cases dengue cases from January 1 to March 2 which is 68% higher compared to the same period last year.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the water collected by residents can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes especially if it is not used immediately.

Duque encourages the public to use the 4-S strategy:

  • Search and destroy breeding places
  • Secure self-protection
  • Seek early consultation
  • Support spraying to prevent impending outbreak

“Pwedeng takpan ng plastic, talian sa may labi ng mga lalagyan at siguraduhin na ito’y hindi mapamugaran ng mga lamok. Doon ang kiti- kiti ay dadami, magiging lamok at sila ay magkakalat ng sakit sa dengue, [They can cover it with plastic and ensure that it will not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes because it can cause dengue],” he added. —Aileen Cerrudo

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Duque slams PAO and complainants’ decision not to file lawsuit vs. Ubial

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Secretary Francisco Duque III (Photo: DOH Facebook page)

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III slammed the decision of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and parents of children inoculated with Dengvaxia, to not file a complaint against former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

Duque said Ubial was the one who extended the mass immunization program of the government which used the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

“The person who extended and expanded the Dengvaxia program was not impleaded and that is former Sec. Ubial. This is something which is mind-boggling. Why ako na kabago-bago ang in-implead, iyong matagal na doon na maraming napaturukan hindi nila in-implead,” Duque said.

Duque also said that the controversy and lawsuit filed against him have put vaccination in a bad light.

He is also confident that the complaints against him will not pass in the Department of Justice.

“I expected it. Well, to begin with, wala naman talagang basis. Kasi it was malicious of PAO Chief Acosta to have impleaded me,” said Duque.

Ubial was the DOH secretary when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office but the Commission on Appointments did not approve her ad interim appointment in 2017.

Duque, who already served as the Health secretary during the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, took office in October 2017 .

Meanwhile, one of the complainants, Analyn Eboña, called on Sec. Duque to resign because of his negligence.

“Sec. Duque huwag ka magdiwang sa ngayon, marami pang magulang ang haharapin mo dahil ikaw ang nagturok sa kanilang mga anak tandaan mo iyan Sec. Duque baka nagdiwang-diwang ka na,” she said.— Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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