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Pacquiao seeks to double tobacco tax rate

The boxer-turned-senator was awarded the first anti-smoking champion belt by the Bawas Bisyo Youth for Sin Tax Movement  for filing the measure. Senate of the Philippines/Joseph Vidal

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao filed a bill seeking higher tax on tobacco “not only to collect more revenues but to protect the people’s health.”

 “Human body is sacred. We should not destroy or desecrate it,” Pacquiao said in a statement.     

The neophyte senator filed Senate Bill 1599, seeking to amend Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Law.

The measure aims to increase the excise tax on tobacco products to P60 from P30 per pack.

There will also be an annual increase of nine percent from the current four percent.

For the boxing champion-turned-senator, the increase in cigarette excise tax will further “maximize its potentials in improving health, revenue and other development goals.”

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Pacquiao noted his bill will reduce smoking prevalence to 19.8 percent by 2020 and will generate revenue to contribute to the government’s higher tax target.

He said he had asked Sen. Sonny Angara, chair of Senate Committee on Ways and Means, to include Senate Bill 1599 in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion.

The Bawas Bisyo Youth for Sin Tax Movement on Tuesday awarded the first anti-smoking champion belt to Pacquiao for filing the measure.

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