Ray Reyes

Reyes: Revenues from junk food, sugary drinks should go to UHC

December 28, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 791 views

ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Rep. Ray T. Reyes on Thursday expressed belief the revenues from additional taxes on junk food and sweetened beverages next year should be used to increase funding for the Universal Health Care (UHC) program.

“It is regrettable that while our budget and spending for health in the past years have risen, the expenditure program for the UHC in the national budget has mostly remained the same,” Reyes said.

“We hope that the revenue generated from additional taxes on junk food and sweetened beverages will lead to more budget for the implementation of UHC,” he added.

The lawmaker said the projections in the 2024 Budget of Expenditure and Sources of Financing show the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is poised to get an additional revenue of P68.5 billion from the anticipated excise taxes on sweetened beverages and junk food.

“Sa pagpasok ng dagdag pondo na ito, inaasahan natin na bubuhusan ng pondo ang ating public health facilities, lalo na ang mga barangay health care centers at rural health units na siyang unang takbuhan ng ating mga kababayan sa kanayunan,” Reyes added.

Reyes had earlier filed House Bill No. 7485, which seeks to increase the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to discourage the consumption of sugary beverages and increase revenues specifically intended to finance the implementation of the UHC Act.

“Once implemented, we will be able to provide more revenue for the government and also contribute in the fight against diabetes, obesity, and non-communicable diseases related to poor diet,” he said.