Marcos rejects Duterte’s call for another tobacco tax hike

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2019 10:11 PM

MANILA - Senator Imee Marcos on Monday opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to increase anew taxes on tobacco, one of the primary products of her home province Ilocos Norte.

Marcos, a long-time ally of Duterte, said current taxes imposed on tobacco products should be enough.

“Utang na loob, tigilan na kami naka-dalawang beses na ang Ilokano,” she said, referring to the number of times the rates for tobacco taxes have been adjusted under the 17th Congress.

Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law would increase cigarette prices to as much as P40 per pack by 2022. 

Last month, the Senate approved a bill that would hike cigarette prices to P60 in the next four years.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the adjusted rates could reduce smoking prevalence in the Philippines to 20 percent by 2023.

The additional taxes could also solve the P40 billion funding gap for the implementation of the Universal Health Care law, he said.