By CHINO S. LEYCO
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday that it welcomed the enactment of a law increasing sin taxes on alcohol products, electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).
“This law will allow for a better and more sustainable future, enabling Filipinos to live long and healthy lives with an efficient healthcare system, as well as a safe and clean environment,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said, referring to Republic Act (RA) No. 11467.
The salient feature of the law will split excise tax revenues between the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act of 2019 (60 percent), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (20 percent), and nationwide medical assistance and the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (20 percent).
RA 11467 will benefit all 17 SDGs through the funding of programs and projects that support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It will primarily benefit Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being through the additional funding for the UHC.
It will also help in addressing Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol as RA 11467 aims to curb their consumption.
Under the new measure, the regulatory function of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) over e-cigarettes and HTPs is reinforced. The FDA has also been tasked to formulate a regulatory framework for the immediate operationalization of this section of the Law.
In his correspondence to the Senate and House of Representatives, dated 22 January 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte commended “the wisdom of Congress in acknowledging the unregulated manufacture, proliferation, distribution, and use of HTPs and vapor products in the country.”
In the same manner, Pernia said that “this will help Filipinos achieve the quality of life that they deserve by discouraging and reducing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, lowering their risk for non-communicable and deadly diseases.”
RA 11467, which was enacted into law on January 22, amends and adds to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.