Anti-tobacco advocates in the Philippines have flooded the twitter and social media accounts of members of the bicameral committee deliberating on tax reform to oppose a proposed tobacco-tax rise they deem insufficient – five pesos per pack, according to a report on News5-InterAksyon.
The rise was reportedly proposed by Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo.
“This is gross treachery on the part of the legislators,” was the reaction of Dr. Maricar Limpin, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, Philippines. “The Quimbo Morris proposal adopted House Bill 4144 that is still pending in the Senate.
“The senators rejected our appeal to include in the tax reform bill the proposals of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Sen. JV Ejercito that are way better than the House Bill because they said it did not go through the committee hearing. And now this.”
Limpin appealed to the senator members of the bicameral committee to keep their promise to discuss the Pacquiao Ejercito proposal in the Senate in January.
Meanwhile, Rio Dayao, vice president of liaison at the University of the Philippines Economics Towards Consciousness (ETC), said the pro-tobacco legislators would suffer the consequences of adopting the proposal of Rep. Quimbo.
“We will expose them to voters as responsible for the initiation of 200,000 youth to smoking,” Dayao was quoted as saying.
“These additional new smokers will result in additional 2,000 deaths per year to the current deaths of 150,000 from tobacco-related diseases. They will have blood on their hands.”