Philippine president all out for sin tax bill but can't quit smoking

Moncada, Tarlac (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - He is for taxing cigarettes to extinction but cannot himself quit the harmful habit.

Smoking is the only way to relieve himself of work-related stress, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III told reporters.

"If I stop smoking, there'll be nothing to help me decompress," he said, following a speech in which he encouraged people to plant medicinal plants and organic vegetables in order to keep fit and healthy.

Besides, he said there was no law yet banning smoking.

Aquino clarified, however, that he takes care that he does not inconvenience or harm anyone by his smoking.

In his speech, . Aquino reiterated the folk saying, "Kung ano ang itinanim, siya ang aanihin (What you sow, you reap)," in urging residents to sustain and continue replicating medicinal and organic farms.

He said his programme of government could be likened to the project because what he wanted to plant was something that would yield a better life for Filipinos.

"Let's plant things that will sustain us so no Juan or Juana de la Cruz will be left behind during harvest time," Aquino said.

He was speaking at an event of "Hardin ng Lunas", a private sector-initiated project that seeks to promote the use and production of medicinal plants and organic vegetables, especially in areas not easily reached by health services.

Aquino said it is not only seedlings that are being planted but knowledge, referring to the various seminars and training programmes that the pilot barangays underwent in the maintenance of herbal gardens and in the preparation of herbal concoctions.

"Health care is not a privilege, it is a right," he said.

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