Ex-DOH Secretaries, medical doctors support DOH Sec Ubial’s bid to raise tobacco tax
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial with ex DOH-Secretaries and medical doctors

Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretaries Esperanza Cabral and Enrique Ona support the appeal of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to the Senate to include the increase in tobacco tax as part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).
Dr. Irineo Bernardo III, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President joins Cabral and Ona in handing over to Ubial the petition of about 60 member organizations of the Sin Tax Coalition to lessen the number of smokers by one million in 2022 or before the end of term of President Duterte.
The groups push for the increase in tobacco tax to prevent the rising number of smokers since 2015, and to avert 45 life-threatening illnesses caused by smoking, including lung cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, heart attack, and even illicit drug use.
In a statement released during the press conference of Ubial today, Cabral and Ona expressed their support to increase the revenues from cigarettes to ensure funds will be available for improved programs in health, including the Universal Health Care (UHC).
“When we passed the Sin Tax Law in 2012, Congress embraced the twin objectives of raising revenues for health programs and arresting the growing epidemic of life-threatening diseases caused by smoking. Now that we see the prices of cigarettes becoming affordable because of the people’s increasing income and the importance of implementing the All for Health Towards Health for All program that the present administration endorses, we are calling again our beloved Senators to act decisively and raise tobacco tax as soon as possible,” explains Ona.
The petition also supports the excise tax in sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) to curb the rising incidence of obesity and equally important m, to raise funds to augment the Health Department’s programs to address malnutrition.
“The excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages is important because the revenue can be used to curb the chronic problem of under nutrition and hunger that affects millions of poor Filipinos. The revenue can be used to facilitate or promote consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are far superior nutrients” says Cabral. (END)