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Survey: Majority of Filipinos Support Higher Alcohol Taxes for a Healthier Society

Higher Alcohol Taxes
A significant majority of Filipinos favor increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages to reduce consumption, according to recent survey findings.

This comes as public health advocates and policymakers grapple with the social and economic impacts of alcohol abuse in the country.

Survey Insights

The Sin Tax Coalition, a leading advocate for higher taxes on harmful products, presented data from two national surveys during a public forum on Tuesday. The findings reveal widespread support for higher alcohol taxes among Filipinos.

A study conducted by the local research firm WR Numero indicated that 67% of Filipinos back increased alcohol taxes, with Mindanao showing the highest support at 70%. This strong regional support highlights the pervasive concern about alcohol consumption across different parts of the country.

In addition, a separate survey by Vital Strategies found that 66% of respondents believe alcohol is too easily accessible, suggesting a growing awareness and concern about the need for stricter regulations to control alcohol availability.

Paul Filomeno, a pediatrician and addiction specialist with the Philippine Addiction Specialists’ Society, highlighted the broader implications of alcohol consumption. “The effects of alcohol extend beyond physical health. Culturally, it is seen as harmless, but it is a psychoactive substance that can ruin lives,” he emphasized.

Filomeno pointed out that excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a range of health problems, including liver disease, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders.

Alcohol abuse also has significant social implications, contributing to domestic violence, accidents, and lost productivity. By increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages, the government could potentially reduce these adverse outcomes by making alcohol less affordable and thus less accessible to the general population.

Advocating Higher Alcohol Taxes for Health and Revenue

The coalition is urging the government to raise excise taxes on alcohol to address the growing economic and health issues affecting Filipinos. Increased taxes on alcohol could generate additional revenue for the government, which could be used to fund public health initiatives and other essential services.

Moreover, higher taxes could lead to a decrease in alcohol consumption, thereby reducing the healthcare costs associated with treating alcohol-related diseases and conditions. This dual benefit of generating revenue while simultaneously improving public health is a compelling argument for policymakers.

Looking at global trends, countries that have implemented higher taxes on alcohol have seen positive outcomes. For example, nations like Norway and Sweden, which have some of the highest alcohol taxes in the world, also have some of the lowest rates of alcohol-related health issues. These countries have demonstrated that fiscal policies can be an effective tool in promoting public health.

Public support for higher alcohol taxes in the Philippines mirrors broader global trends where citizens recognize the health and social benefits of reducing alcohol consumption. Politically, implementing higher taxes on alcohol could be a strategic move for the government, aligning with public sentiment and demonstrating a commitment to public health.

Future Steps

The Sin Tax Coalition is calling on the government to take decisive action. “We need a comprehensive approach that includes higher taxes, stricter regulations on the availability of alcohol, and robust public health campaigns to educate the population about the risks associated with alcohol consumption,” said a coalition spokesperson.

In conclusion, the recent surveys underscore a growing recognition among Filipinos of the need to address the pervasive issue of alcohol consumption through higher excise taxes. This policy measure, supported by public opinion and expert advice, represents a proactive step towards a healthier and more prosperous nation. The government’s response to this call for action will be crucial in shaping the future health and well-being of the Filipino population.

 

Read Also: #ShotPuno! Lambanog Takes the World by Storm as the 2nd Best Spirit

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Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
 
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