MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is still studying the amount of additional taxes to be levied on sweetened beverages and junk food.
“Ito po ‘yung pinag-aaralan pa rin natin sa ngayon, magkano ‘yung kailangan pa natin dahil alam natin nakakakuha na tayo ng sin taxes from alcohol, from tobacco, from heated tobacco products and vape (This is what we are currently studying, how much do we still need because we know we get sin taxes from alcohol, tobacco and vape products),” said DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online media briefing on Friday.
About 59 percent or PHP155 billion of the DOH’s 2022 budget came from sin taxes, Vergeire noted.
“So, ganito po ‘yung gusto nating makita (this is what we want to see) in the coming years that these sin taxes can fund the different interventions that we do to provide Universal Health Care for everybody,” she said.
Citing the country's data, Vergeire said obesity is already a public health concern as it has shown a sustained increase from 31 percent in 2015 to 37 percent in 2018.
She noted that sweetened beverages and junk food can contribute to obesity as they become lifestyle factors.
“May mga pag-aaral na kapag ang bata naumpisahan sa mga ganitong klaseng pagkain paglaki nila obese din sila at pumapasok na ‘yung mga risk nila sa iba’t ibang non-communicable diseases (There are studies that when kids start on these foods, they grow up obese and they become at risk for non-communicable diseases),” she said.
Earlier, data from Global Adult Tobacco Survey have shown that the number of smokers in the country decreased to 24 percent from 30 percent when the Sin Tax Law was passed in 2012.
Meanwhile, data from the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute Expanded Nutrition Survey showed that smoking prevalence in the country declined from 31 percent in 2008 to 20 percent in 2019.
Apart from funding, Vergeire said sin taxes help the DOH regulate and control lifestyle risk factors like smoking and drinking which cause non-communicable diseases resulting in an additional burden to the country’s economy. (PNA)