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PH sin tax scheme gets WHO’s nod

/ 04:50 AM November 16, 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the Philippines’ efforts to impose higher excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products as an international model for cost-effective promotion of health and reduction of non-communicable diseases.

In a report about the country’s groundbreaking efforts, WHO said the Duterte administration’s “actions to prevent non-communicable diseases in the Philippines are relatively cheap and cost-effective,” adding that the scheme “identifies which policy packages would provide the greatest returns on investment.”

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This government’s earmarking of excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco and nicotine vapor products for implementing universal healthcare makes the Philippines “a forerunner in allocating sin tax revenue to health programs,” the report stressed.

The study comes as the departments of Finance and of Health jointly push for the urgent passage of Senate Bill No. 1074, which significantly raises “sin” tax rates on alcohol, heated tobacco and e-cigarette products.

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“Most of these policy interventions are also WHO best buys: that is, effective interventions with a cost-effectiveness ratio of less than or equal to 100 international dollars per disability-adjusted life-year averted in low- and middle-income countries,” the report said of the country’s “sin” tax measures.

Meanwhile, the finance department also expressed support for the WHO report’s recommendation of adopting comprehensive approaches to tackling non-communicable diseases.—DAXIM L. LUCAS

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TAGS: sin tax, WHO, World Health Organization
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