The Department of Health (DOH) lauds the Committee on Ways and Means approval of House Bill No. 1026 which seeks to increase taxes on alcohol products. Forty-three (43) members of the House Ways and Means Committee voted for the approval of the bill.

Under HBN 1026, distilled spirits, fermented liquors, and wines will be given an ad valorem tax, which would be on top of a specific tax depending on the volume per category of alcoholic beverage. Additionally, the specific tax would increase 7% annually starting in 2020 for wines, and in 2023 for distilled spirits and fermented liquors.

Reports and studies on alcohol strongly recommend implementing aggressive public policies for the reduction of public alcohol consumption, including increasing taxes to make these products less affordable and accessible, especially to the youth.

According to Food Nutrition and Research Institute’s Clinical and Health Survey, more than half of Filipinos aged 20 to 59 engage in harmful use of alcohol in the form of binge drinking, or drinking excessively in one sitting. According to the same survey, the youth are also at risk for adverse health effects of alcohol consumption. It is reported that among Filipino youth aged 10 to 19, 14.9% consume alcohol, and 36.7% of these are underage drinkers (2015).

Notably, the alcohol-attributable number of road and traffic accidents in the Philippines has reached a total of 10,372 fatal and non-fatal accidents from 2016 to 2018, as reported in the DOH Online National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (ONEISS).

Similar to raising the tax on tobacco as a tobacco control measure, increasing the excise tax on alcohol products is a best buy and win-win intervention for reducing alcohol consumption and increasing revenue for health. Building on the public health impact of Republic Act No. 10351, or the Sin Tax Law of 2012, the DOH supports all undertakings to increase taxation on alcohol.

“I commend the House of Representatives, specifically the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Congressman Joey Salceda of Albay, for sponsoring this bill. The continuing partnership between DOH and the House of Representatives is certainly a positive proof that we are united in protecting the health of the Filipino people,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III concluded.