Consumption of tobacco products is widely acknowledged as causing oral respiratory, and pulmonary diseases. Consumption of alcoholic products is also generally believed to damage the liver and cause kidney ailments.
Now, soft drinks were for decades considered relatively benign beverages because they do not contain alcohol but are only carbonated.
However, scientific studies have shown their deleterious effects on the health of consumers, particularly on their excess weight and elevated blood sugar levels.
Hence, they pose serious health hazards, and the government has to consider them as “sin products” in the broadest sense of the word.
So goes the argument of a lady lawmaker in proposing that soft drinks be put next in line with cigarettes and alcoholic drinks for taxation to reduce consumption to protect the health of the public.
Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing stressed the tremendous health benefits that would come with higher soft drink taxes: An increase in the price of soft drinks and carbonated beverages could help wean consumers from buying these products.
“Aside from the rehabilitation fund, another purpose of the bill is to curb the consumption of soft drinks and carbonated drinks. There have been studies which have shown that consumption of such types of goods increase the risk of developing health problems such as blood sugar disorders, obesity, diabetes and other related diseases like bone fractures, hyperacidity, tooth decay, and heart problems,” Suansing said.[pq]The bill the lady solon filed seeks to impose a 10-percent ad valorem tax on soft drinks and carbonated beverages sold in bottles and other tight containers.[/pq]
Suansing’s bill acknowledged that the soft drink industry is currently subjected to value-added tax, income tax, withholding tax, local and real property taxes, and customs duties.
Flavored and colored syrups that are needed to manufacture soft drinks are not subjected to excise tax, and only to the 12-percent VAT and customs duties if these are imported.
She said the benefits of the measure would be two-fold — it would provide the government with a source of revenue for the massive rebuilding of the provinces leveled by recent the recent massive earthquake in the Visayas and the series of destructive typhoons, the latest beingYolanda; and help lower the risk of people contracting certain illnesses.
“Other countries like the USA, France, Netherlands, and Finland have realized the need to impose taxes on soft drinks and carbonated drinks,” the lady solon said.
Higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and the like, especially now that the revenue to be collected would go to such an important project as the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas, Suansing said.
Her bill specifies that the funds to be collected from the imposition of the ad valorem tax would go to the Rehabilitation Fund for calamity victims, and /would be used for such programs as livelihood development, mass housing, road construction, and other infrastructure projects.
“Filipinos are resilient and can rise above all these calamities. However, necessary funds and revenues for the rehabilitation are needed,” she said in her explanatory note.