Beng’s contribution in sin tax law lauded PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 14:12

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima personally thanked House Deputy Speaker Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco for her contributions in the passage of the 2012 Sin Tax Reform Law.

This, as President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday signed into law Republic Act 10351 or An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco held at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace.

The lady legislator from Zamboanga co-authored the House version – House Bill 5727 principally authored by former Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya. In the crucial voting in the committee level, Climaco supported the bill with her affirmative vote. “We responded to the need of pushing for a measure preventing cancer and ill-effects of smoking and alcohol,” Climaco said.

Leaders of civil society organizations together with the young people who worked hard for the bill’s passage cited Climaco’s contributions. Climaco worked closely with Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona and cancer prevention advocates like Zamboangueño and Philippine General Hospital head Dr. Jose Gonzalez.
Climaco is the principal author of House Bill 5368 that seeks the establishment of a National Cancer Institute of the Philippines that would address the needs of those who cannot afford treatment for cancer.

The House Bill 5727 as amended was passed by the House of Representatives last June 6, 2012, while Senate Bill 3299 as amended was passed by the Senate last November 20, 2012. The bicameral conference committee report reconciling the two bills was ratified by both Houses of Congress last December 11, 2012.

Climaco joined some members of Congress who witnessed the signing together with representatives from Department of Health, Department of Finance, World Health Organization, the USAID, the World Bank, health advocates, medical organizations, academe, supporters from the civil society, industry and business sectors.

“We thank President Aquino for certifying the measure as urgent in order to ensure its speedy passage. The additional revenues that will be collected from the sin tax reform law will help our government in the realization of the universal health care program, and in pursuing programs that will provide PhilHealth insurance to the poorest Filipinos,” Climaco stressed.

In a press statement, the Palace said that the enactment of the law is a victory in the government’s campaign to protect the people. Republic Act 10351 is expected to generate more revenues for the government. On the first year of implementation, the government is expected to raise additional revenues worth P33.96 billion, of which, P23.4 billion is from cigarettes, P6.06 billion from distilled spirits and P4.5 billion from fermented liquors.

After deducting the allocations for assistance to tobacco farmers under existing laws R.A. 7171 and R.A. 8240, eighty percent (80%) of the remaining balance of the incremental revenue will be earmarked for the universal health care under the National Health Insurance Program and twenty percent (20%) will be allocated nationwide for medical assistance and health enhancement facilities program

“We join President Aquino in his proclamation that this is indeed an early Christmas gift to the Filipino people. We extend our congratulations to Congressman Isidro Ungab who defended the bill together with authors Congresswoman Henedina Abad and Sec. Abaya - the original author where the bill was patterned,” Climaco added. — Marvin Segura