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Solon: ‘Asin tax’ will make noodles, sardines unaffordable for poor

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 6/18/2017 Marchadesch, Barbara
Sardines can fish thumbnail generic canned goods © Provided by Mediamerge Corporation Sardines can fish thumbnail generic canned goods

A lawmaker said the proposed imposition of excise tax on processed products with salt will hit poor Filipinos as it will increase the prices of products such as noodles and sardines.

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said that under the measure, one cup of noodles with a 990-milligram sodium content will be priced at P490, after the daily dietary allowance of 500 milligrams per day for adults is subtracted.

Meanwhile, a can of sardines, which has 610 mg sodium content, will be worth P110.

“Sa Asin tax, maski end product ay bubuwisan ng 1/mg ng sodium o asin sa produkto; dahil per milligram ang kwentada nila ay napakabigat nito sa mahihirap,” he said.

“Dahil dito hindi na kakayanin ng mga lower income groups na makabili pa ng noodles o sardinas man lang. Ito din po ang madalas na pinamimigay na relief goods,” he added. “This bill is definitely anti-poor and must be opposed.”

Like the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, which is included in the approved version of the Tax Reform bill, the measure is presented in line with health concerns.

House Bill 3179, filed by Masbate Rep. Scott Davies Lanete, seeks to impose P1 excise tax for every milligram of sodium “in excess of one-third of allowable daily intake of sodium chloride as prescribed by the Department of Health.”

Lanete, a doctor, noted that due to its contribution to increased risk of deadly diseases, “sin taxes”  on sodium have been imposed in some countries, including Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Panama, Morocco, Kenya, and Jordan.

“The 1987 Philippine Constitution enjoins the state to protect and promote the right of health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. Thus, it is high time for the Philippines to adopt strict measures in ensuring the safety and well-being of Filipinos,” he said in his explanatory note.

“Imposing a tax on the production, sale, and consumption of food products that have salt as an ingredient will not only deter citizens from consuming more than the prescribed daily intake but will also generate additional funds for the government,” he added. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/BM, GMA News

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