Finance dept backs Pacquiao bill on tobacco tax hike

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2019 10:19 AM | Updated as of Jan 09 2019 10:40 AM

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MANILA - The Department of Finance said Wednesday it supported Senator Manny Pacquiao's bill seeking higher taxes on cigarettes to help fund the universal healthcare.

Pacquiao's bill will help fill in the P40 billion funding gap for healthcare, said DOF Assistant Secretary and spokesman Tony Lambino. The champion boxer-turned-lawmaker wants to raise the tobacco excise tax to P60 per pack from P32.50.

So-called sin taxes in the Philippines will still be among the lowest in the region even with the increase, he said.

He said excise taxes on tobacco will also help government meet its goal of reducing the number of smokers by 14 to 15 percent.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved the health and finance departments’ proposal to raise the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products.