MANILA (UPDATE) -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday asked lawmakers to immediately pass a law that will raise taxes on alcohol, heated tobacco and vapor products.
Duterte said the tax adjustments would "address the urgent need" to fund Universal Health Care, based on a copy of the President's letter to Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.
Copies of the letter were also furnished to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Secretary Adelino Sitoy, head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.
The bill seeks to raise some P47.9 billion to fund a P59.1-billion funding gap for universal health care, data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed.
Aside from tax revenues, the measure also seeks to “discourage excessive alcohol and e-cigarette consumption” among Filipinos, Finance Usec. Karl Chua earlier told reporters.
In 2018, the Philippines incurred about P19 billion in "socio-economic losses" due to alcohol-related accidents, according to data from a DOF study.
Duterte in July signed a law raising excise taxes on cigarettes by P45 per pack by 2020, P50 per pack by 2021, P55 per pack by 2022, and P60 per pack by 2023.