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INCREASE SUGAR TAX, LOWER DIABETES RISK OF FILIPINOS’ ANAKALUSUGAN CALLS FOR HIGHER SUGARED BEVERAGE TAX TO INCREASE UHC FUNDING
“It is time for the government to update its sugar-sweetened beverage tax regime to further curb diabetes risk among Filipinos. Although sugar consumption in general has tempered down since the implementation of sweetened beverage tax in 2018, cases of Type 2 diabetes continue to rise.”
This ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Representative Ray Florence Reyes aired as he pushed for additional increase on the excise tax on sweetened beverages.
Fresh studies from reputable firms conclude that since the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law in 2017, which included the move to tax sugar sweetened beverages, consumption of sugar-laced products decreased in the country.
“Increasing tax on such items would push manufacturers to formulate healthier products, and our citizens to either lower consumption or completely turn to healthier options. The initial move to levy these products already proved effective as sugar consumption in the country declined,” Rep. Reyes said.
Despite the decrease in consumption, however, the International Diabetes Federation projected that Type 2 diabetes among Filipinos is set to increase by 85 percent. A Harvard study further showed that people who consume sugary drinks have 26 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In the past years, diabetes has remained as one of the top four causes of death among Filipinos.
“These data are alarming. But more than these products being a health-risk, additional taxes collected from sugar-sweetened beverages will generate more revenue for targeted programs under the Universal Health Care that need attention,” Rep. Reyes stated.
“We are pushing for the inclusion of more aggressive interventions such as the expansion of packages to cover optical and dental services, and the establishment of accessible clinics and hospitals in rural areas. Therefore, funds that will be generated from this additional tax will greatly improve our health services for the poor and needy,” Rep. Reyes added.
Early this year, the Department of Finance collected P575.8 billion in incremental revenues from 2018 to 2021 from TRAIN Law, sin tax laws, and tax amnesty offerings which funded various public infrastructure projects and financed the national health care program.