The Health department’s proposal to impose an additional tax on salty products must be studied carefully because of its impact on the poor, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Friday.
“I have to discuss this thoroughly with them,” Dominguez said in a very short response to reporters when asked to comment on the Health department’s proposal.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the Health department’s proposal must be studied thoroughly.
“The tax might be imposed on the food items consumed by the poorer sections of our society,” Pimentel said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it was okay to impose taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, but not on “what to eat and what not to eat.”
“Too much,” he said, adding the proposal was “silly.”
Senator Joel Villanueva said many people would go hungry if the prices of food like daing and tuyo suddenly went up.
Anthony Leachon, co-convenor of the Sin Tax Coalition, said the proposal to tax salty foods should be studied well.
The Health department earlier this week said it was considering to propose an additional tax on salty products including processed food.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the proposal was aimed at encouraging consumers to buy healthier food.
“The effect will be to increase the price of food with high amounts of salt, so people would buy healthier options because they are cheaper,” Domingo said.
He said another possible effect would be for food manufacturers to consciously reformulate their products.
Lawmakers have already expressed their opposition to the plan, saying the move would be anti-poor because tuyo and daing would become more expensive.
Lacson said he would oppose the proposal.
Senator Imee Marcos said the government should run after tax cheats instead of imposing an additional burden on the poor.
The United Nations Interagency Task Force earlier said the high consumption of salt was one of the causes of non-communicable diseases in the country such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and chronic respiratory diseases.
A study also found that while the World Health Organization recommends five grams of salt a day, an average Filipino consumes 11 grams.
The TRAIN Law, which took effect in January 2018, cut personal income taxes but raised the excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, automobiles, fuel and sugar-sweetened beverages.
TRAIN reduced the personal income taxes of 99 percent of Filipino taxpayers which, according to the government, boosted consumer demand while discouraging the consumption of unhealthy products such as sweetened beverages, tobacco, and alcohol. With Macon Ramos-Araneta