Republic Act (RA) 11467, which amends and adds to the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, was enacted into law on 22 January 2020. RA 11467 increases the excise taxes on alcohol products, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and heated tobacco products (HTPs). The additional revenue will fund the Universal Health Care (UHC), additional medical assistance and support to local governments, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In relation to the SDGs, a salient feature of this legislation is the earmarking of the revenues collected from the excise tax on alcohol and cigarette products. Twenty percent (20%) shall be allocated for the attainment of the SDGs based on the targets determined by the National Economic and Development Authority while sixty percent (60%) is allocated for the implementation of RA 11223, otherwise known as the UHC Act of 2019. Meanwhile, the remaining twenty percent (20%) shall be allocated nationwide, based on political and district subdivisions, for medical assistance, the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), the annual requirements of which shall be determined by the Department of Health.
The fund is expected to benefit all 17 SDGs through the funding of programs and projects that support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being will particularly benefit through the additional funding for the UHC. There will also be a positive impact in addressing Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol as RA 11467 aims to curb their consumption.
In the President’s message to the Senate and House of Representatives (HOR) through his correspondence dated 22 January 2020, he commended “the wisdom of Congress in acknowledging the unregulated manufacture, proliferation, distribution, and use of HTPs and vapor products in the country”. Under the new measure, the regulatory function of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) over e-cigarettes and HTPs is reinforced. The President has also instructed the FDA to formulate a regulatory framework for the immediate operationalization of this section of the Law.
In the same correspondence to the Senate and HOR, the President also mentioned that he is “confident that the multi-tiered effect of this law as a cost-effective health measure to reduce smoking and alcohol consumption among Filipinos support the UHC Act”.
“Coupled with its positive impact in improving domestic resource mobilization, this measure will significantly reinforce and advance this administration’s commitment to provide a better quality of life for every Filipino”, he added.
A copy of RA 11467 may be accessed through this link: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2020/01jan/20200122-RA-11467-RRD.pdf