(PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Higher levy on sin products such as alcohol, tobacco, and e-cigarettes as well as sugar-sweetened beverages has helped the government to deliver health and social services amid the global health and economic crisis.

In a statement Friday, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said sin taxes raised revenues to fund the Universal Health Care program and give Filipinos access to more comprehensive health care services.

“Our efforts to reform sin taxes can be traced back to the previous administration. Through Republic Act No. 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012, we restructured the excise tax on tobacco and alcohol products,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Karl Kendrick Chua said.

Chua said the Duterte administration has pursued higher taxes on tobacco products and sweetened beverages under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the first package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).

“Later on, we further increased taxes on tobacco and alcohol products, and introduced a new tax on e-cigarettes through Package 2+ when our previous hikes proved to be insufficient to curtail consumption,” he added.

Chua added that increasing the sin taxes has helped the government during the pandemic in terms of disbursing emergency cash aids, procure Covid-19 vaccines, and invest in health and social services.

“We remain confident that the bold policies we have instituted over the past six years will further drive our economy forward and help improve the lives of the people,” he said. (PNA)