On the proposed tax on dried fish
DOH is infected with the worse social diseases called apathy and callousness – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – Amid the proposal of Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque to impose “sin tax” on salted products, including dried fish, Anakpawis Party-list former lawmaker Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao slammed the agency as infected with the worst social diseases called apathy and callousness. He stressed that though “dried fish” has been essentially synonymous to poverty, Duque still had the gall to float his proposal.
“Duque exposed his apathy to the plight of the poor and disconnect to the concrete social reality in the country. He is callous of the possible impact of his proposal on poor sectors,” Casilao said in a press statement.
He added that Duque is attempting to be objective by quoting World Health Organization (WHO) studies on the relation of salt comsumption on non-communicable diseases. But he grossly erred on poor’s consumption of salty products as “sin.” Sin tax is the excise tax on products classified as harmful to society.
“Consumption of salty products such as dried fish is not a choice of leisure, but of desperation, among food items with skyrocketing prices. It is the height of callousness to consider it as a ‘sin,’ worse, impose a ‘sin tax,’” the former lawmaker added.
Moreover, this will also impact at least 4 million beneficiary families of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, whose daily diet include dried fish and other salty products.
“Akin to the excise tax on sugar, the government measly dole out was taken back through taxes. But taxes on ‘tuyo’ or ‘daing,’ will be a deal-breaker for the Duterte government. If this pushes through, this will be an undisputed proof of the anti-poor character of the government,” he elaborated.
Finally, Casilao said that Duque’s proposal for health concern via taxes is a “hypocritical oath.”
“If Duque is really concerned about public health, he should have not consented to the budget cut,” he said.
Budget to the DOH for 2020 was slashed by P9.4 billion that threatens the tenure of near 8,000 health workers. The budget for the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) was also P456 million.
“In a country where poor people from remote areas die without even seeing a single doctor, taxing salt products in the name of public health is unfitting, deceptive and anti-poor,” he ended. ###