The Inbox

HB5727: more revenues, less poison for the people

Don't kill yourself and us too

By Ellen Tordesillas

The fact that House Bill 5727 has reached this far at the House Ways and Means Committee bodes well for the legislation that aims to raise sin taxes making it more expensive for Filipinos to ruin their health.

The Ways and means committee, chaired by Davao City (3rd district)  Rep. Isidro T. Ungab , tackles a legislations and related matters concerning  fiscal, monetary and financial affairs of the national government including tariff, taxation, revenues, borrowing, credit and bonded indebtedness. All revenue- related bills emanate from the House of Representatives.

Lobbying in that committee by   alcohol and tobacco manufacturers is known to be intense. That's why many congressmen want to be in that committee. It's a lucrative committee. That's also why bills like HB5727, an Act restructuring the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products authored by Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya, is difficult to pass.  In Tagalog, we say, kabangga mo ang pader.

We hope and pray there would be at least 50 of the 75-member Ways and Means Committee who would think of the lives that would be saved by the passage of this bill.

Once the bill passes the Ways and Means Committee, it goes to the plenary for further deliberations, interpellations by the 286 House members. This is another arduous, even contentious process, that would depend a lot on the House leadership, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

If it hurdles the House process, which is not unlike a camel passing through the needle, the bill goes to the Senate where it will be referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means Committee chaired by Ralph Recto. More discussions and deliberations. Needless to say more lobbying by vested interest groups.

After all the discussions and deliberations, it would go to the bicameral committee where all the   amendments, if there are, would be harmonized.  Then it goes  to the House and Senate for ratification before it is sent to Malacañang for the President's  signature.

This would be a test of the President's leadership because it is talked about that although Abaya is a top official of LP, members are not united behind  HB5727.

Anti-tobacco advocates  would not  be so hard on the President not giving up his smoking habit if he could use the weight of the presidency  to push this bill that would redound to the interests of millions of  poor Filipinos .

A manifesto for HB5727 says "On the first year of implementation, the government is expected to raise additional revenues worth P60 billion, of which, P30 billion is from cigarettes, P11 from distilled spirits and P19 billion is from beer." The P60 billion could be used to build more classrooms, buy more books, pay more teachers for schoolchildren in the provinces. It could also be used to improve health facilities and hire more health care personnel to serve in rural areas.

"Moving as One", a group composed of organizations  fighting cancer, issued a call to support  HB5727.

Moving as One said:" In the Philippines, cancer only ranks third to infectious diseases and heart diseases as a leading cause of death.

"Tobacco's linkage to lung cancer is one of the most widely known harmful effects on human health of smoking. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. "

"Smoking increases risks of cancer at many sites in the body other than the lungs, particularly the head and neck, urinary bladder and kidneys, uterine cervix, breast, pancreas, and colon.

"Increasing tobacco prices by raising taxes is the most effective intervention to reduce tobacco use and encourage smokers to quit. When tobacco prices increase by 10%, it leads to 4% decrease in consumption in high-income countries and by up to 8% in low- and middle-income countries.

"The higher excise taxes will not only discourage the dangerous habits of smoking and drinking but it will potentially raise government revenues, which can then be used for tobacco control and other health programs like the Universal Health Care Program."

  • Happy Earth Day! The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet
    Happy Earth Day! The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

    When the first Earth Day was held in 1970, geologists were still putting the finishing touches on plate tectonics, the model that explains how the Earth's surface takes shape. For today's Earth day, here are some of Earth's biggest unsolved mysteries. Scientists think Earth was a dry rock after it coalesced 4.5 billion years ago. But the beginnings of Earth's water are shrouded in mystery because so little rock evidence remains from this time period. …

  • Angel calls birthday boy Luis ‘amazing’
    Angel calls birthday boy Luis ‘amazing’

    [caption id="attachment_130927" align="alignright" width="300"] Angel Locsin and Luis Manzano (Instagram)[/caption] Angel Locsin is extra sweet to boyfriend Luis Manzano today, with the latter commemorating his 33rd birthday. The actress authorized Sagip Kapamilya Foundation to auction the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle, which is her dream car. …

  • Why You Forget: 5 Strange Facts About Memory

    Although rare, certain activities can result in a temporary memory loss and brain fog, called transient global amnesia. For example, sex has been reported to cause this memory problem, with patients forgetting the past day or so, and having difficulty forming new memories. …

  • Miss America defends student suspended for asking her to prom
    Miss America defends student suspended for asking her to prom

    By Chris Francescani NEW YORK (Reuters) - Miss America has suggested officials at a Pennsylvania high school reconsider their decision to suspend a student for approaching her at a school assembly and asking her to be his prom date, the beauty queen said on Saturday. The disciplinary action taken by school administrators in York against the 18-year-old senior made national headlines, and generated sympathy for the young man on social media. A video of Central York High School senior Patrick …

  • U.S. Embassy in Manila denies report of visa-free U.S. entry for Filip …
    U.S. Embassy in Manila denies report of visa-free U.S. entry for Filip …

    Don’t fall for rumors that Filipinos may now visit the United States without a visa, U.S. embassy in Manila told the public Wednesday. …

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Happy Earth Day! The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

    Happy Earth Day! The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

    LiveScience.com - Tue, Apr 22, 2014
    Happy Earth Day! The 8 Biggest Mysteries of Our Planet

    When the first Earth Day was held in 1970, geologists were still putting the finishing touches on plate tectonics, the model that explains how the Earth's surface takes shape. For today's Earth day, here are some of Earth's biggest unsolved mysteries. Scientists think Earth was a dry rock after it coalesced 4.5 billion years ago. But the beginnings of Earth's water are shrouded in mystery because so little rock evidence remains from this time period. …

  • Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    Cover Media - 14 hours ago
    Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    Jodie Foster has reportedly tied the knot with Alexandra Hedison, who she has been dating for less than a year. …

  • Eruption now engaged to GF

    Eruption now engaged to GF

    MB - Wed, Apr 23, 2014
    Eruption now engaged to GF

    [caption id="attachment_131583" align="alignright" width="240"] Newly engaged couple Eric Tai and Rona Samson; (inset) Samson’s engagement ring (Instagram)[/caption] Eric “Eruption” Tai has already proposed to his non-showbiz girlfriend Rona Samson. The “It’s Showtime” mainstay offered Samson the ring near Mayon Volcano, Albay over the Holy week break. Tai shared during Monday’s episode of “It’s Showtime,” how he asked Samson the big question. “Umakyat kami, siyempre Eruption at Mayon Volcano. …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options