MANILA, Aug. 11 —The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) has expressed full support for the proposed excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB).
“The PHA believes that taxing sugar-sweetened drinks would require manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of their products. This is about saving every Filipino from the silent killers,” PHA president Jorge Sison said Friday regarding the government’s proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which seeks a PHP10 tax per liter of sugary beverages, such as soft drinks, ready-to-drink and powdered juice, flavored water, energy drinks, and sports drinks, among others.
Making SSBs less accessible to the public, he said, will help reduce the incidence of such diseases as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart ailments.
“Excessive sugar metabolizes quickly and develops into fat,” the cardiologist pointed out, citing studies showing that people who consume more calories from added sugar have a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.
He further said that aside from the SSB tax, the PHA is also pushing for other initiatives that would prevent illnesses caused by the overconsumption of sugar, such as adding a statement on product labels cautioning consumers of their sugar content, similar to warnings in cigarette packs.
The PHA is one of several health advocates that have been pushing for the passage of the TRAIN, specifically the tax on SSB. The Sin Tax Coalition has said that funds to be generated from the SSB tax could be used to address undernutrition in the country, for instance by sponsoring feeding programs that would offer a healthy diet for the poor. (PNA)