Lifestyle changes seen with new tax rates

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Rep. Salvador B. Belaro Jr. projects a change in the lifestyle of Filipinos, especially the low-income consumers, with the expected increases in the prices of sweetened beverages, sugar and alcoholic drinks.

 

Belaro, 1-Ang Edukasyon partylist representative and assistant majority leader, said Congress included the beverage tax in the TRAIN (or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) bill because “among others, our country has widespread illnesses linked to high sugar intake and smoking, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dental caries and obesity.”

 

The Department of Education has precisely banned soft drinks in school canteens and laid down strict policies on school nutrition to spare schoolchildren from health risks brought by high sugar consumption.

 

1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list has long campaigned for better nutrition for Filipinos especially students and the youth. “The proposed beverage tax in the TRAIN tax reform bill and the various school nutrition bills I filed are proof of this focus on nutrition. We filed our bills on school nutrition because we want our children to be healthy,” he stressed.

 

By making sweetened beverages more expensive, we are discouraging consumers, the Filipino families, from high sugar consumption and making them choose healthier, less sweet or unsweetened lifestyle options, Belaro added.

 

Making cigarettes more expensive will force people to buy them less them, thereby lowering their risks of getting cancer, hypertension and respiratory diseases.

 

“We want a healthy citizenry because healthy citizens make for a healthy, productive, economically prosperous, and socially-progressive nation,” he emphasized.

 

The sari-sari stores will not sell items their customers cannot afford. They will switch to selling other products. Sari-sari store owners know their customers well.

 

Filipino consumers have many other daily necessities like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. Some of the soft drinks bottlers have now been producing bottled water, tea, and coconut juice because they have learned that more Filipinos have been switching to unsweetened or less sweet beverages.

 

 

The reality is the beverage tax is pro-poor because it will promote better health for Filipinos and will fund social services of the government, he said.

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