'Smoker PNoy's support for sin tax bill enough'

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2012 06:29 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2012 02:29 AM

MANILA - Malacañang believes that the fact that President Aquino smokes should not be made an issue as he supports the passage of sin tax reform bill.

Lacierda said the bill will benefit the poor, pointing out that the proceeds will be used to fund universal health care.
 
“The fact that the President endorses or strongly advocates the sin tax reform measure is an indication that what he believes should be policy, regardless of whether a person smokes or not. Because this is policy,” Lacierda said when asked to react to a group’s reported call for the President to stop smoking.  
 
“Our belief is that the six tax reform measure is a health issue. More than any segment of the population, it does affect the poor. As we have stated also, it affects the country in the amount of hundreds of billions of pesos in the economy. So we believe that this is policy, this is a policy issue strongly supported by government and it should become law.”
 
Asked what the President does to keep himself healthy, Lacierda said the President eats healthy food.
 
“The President eats healthy foods, I have to say that. The President is fully aware and the chef in the Malacañang… is fully aware of the health needs of its Presidents, not only of the President. Whenever we have meetings our food is healthy and very green,” Lacierda said.
 
“Whether the President smokes or not, again, that is irrelevant in our fight… towards ensuring that… the health benefits should be able to accrue to the poorest of the poor. And we believe that as a health bill it will provide assistance or benefit [to] a greater number [of the] underprivileged.”