Press Release
July 2, 2013

Transcript of Interview of Sen. Franklin M. Drilon at the sidelines
of the DOH's Red Orchid Awards Ceremony held in the PICC

On the sin tax law

Drilon: I will be pushing for the legislation that requires a Graphic Health Warning Packaging for tobacco & cigarettes. Like in other countries, there is a picture warning on each pack of cigarettes which is a demo of what smoking can do to people's health. Such legislation is being opposed in our country at the moment, so we intend to push this legislation together with Sen. Pia Cayetano in the 16th congress. We believe that this legislation is essential for us to push our health programs particularly in relation to the campaign against tobacco smoking in our country. We do not have that kind of regulation which requires graphic warning on packages and this is one of the challenges we are facing in the next Congress.

Drilon: Contrary to the claims of cigarette manufacturers that we will suffer because of smuggling, tax evasion, the records will show that the excise tax collection is meeting the schedule that we predicted when we fought for this sin tax law. The first year increment for the excise tax is about P33 billion and P21 billion or P22 billion of which will come from tobacco taxes. Right now, we are meeting targets. Whether or not that is good depends on what side you are looking at. If we're looking at it from the finance side, then we're happy that they're meeting their targets; and if you are looking at the health side, we are not so happy because the cigarette consumption has not gone down. I understand there is a lot of downgrading because of the higher taxes, there is shift to cheaper brands. But in the future, there will be a unitary tax, therefore there will be a one-tax rate for all kinds of cigarette, and so, this phenomenon will no longer happen.

On committee chairmanship

It is still ongoing. I am trying to have the best team; committee chairs are based on what we believe will be a public interest: the competency of the senators. It's not a question of making one happy; it is a question of making the public satisfied that we deliver the services needed.

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