Pacquiao pushes for tobacco tax hike bill before Senate break

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2019 11:58 AM | Updated as of Jan 29 2019 12:05 PM

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MANILA -- Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday urged his colleagues to pass his bill that seeks to double cigarette taxes before the chamber goes on break at the end of next week to help curb smoking and raise additional revenue for government.

Increasing the excise tax on tobacco to P60 per pack from P32.50 can help fill a P40-billion fund gap for healthcare, the Department of Finance said earlier, as it expressed support for Pacquiao's measure.

Pacquiao said the government could not impose further taxes on rice and food because this would burden the poor, adding, "Wala na tayong ibang choice (We have no other choice)."

"I firmly urge the committee to approve this very urgent measure before the session ends. Napaka-importante itong tobacco tax increase (This tobacco tax increase is very important)," he said.

Pacquiao said he was also thinking of raising excise duties on liquor.

The boxer-turned-lawmaker, who just came from a title defense against American Adrien Broner, said his bill would help prevent 850,000 new smokers on its first year of implementation.

Pacquiao also warned against the dangers of second-hand smoke.