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WHO lauds PH for revised tax provisions on sugar-sweetened beverages

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has commended the country’s new tax provisions for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.

According to WHO, the SSB tax is a big help on the reduction of consumption of sugars which in turn aids in the prevention of cases of obesity, overweight, and noncommunicable diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“The World Health Organization commends the Philippines as it passes a landmark law with new tax provisions for sugar-sweetened beverages. The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act provides a P6 per liter tax (approximately 14 percent increase in price) for caloric and noncaloric sweetened beverages,” the WHO said in a statement. “The initiative makes Philippines among the first countries in Asia to introduce SSB tax in their national agenda.”

“With 87 percent of Filipinos suffering from tooth decay, the reduction of sugars intake will also reduce this risk. The revenue to be generated from the SSB taxation also has the potential to be utilized for health-promoting purposes,” the WHO said.

“Taxation of SSBs is a great step forward in protecting the health of Filipinos. Experience in other countries has shown positive results. Mexico, for instance, implemented 10-percent excise tax on SSBs in 2014 and demonstrated an average reduction of 7.6 percent in purchases of taxed beverages in its first two years of implementation. The reduction in consumption is predicted to have positive impacts on health outcomes and reductions in health-care expenses in Mexico,” it further explained.

The WHO also reiterated that fruits of the said tax provision will be more visible in the years to come.

“We congratulate the legislators and health advocates who together have worked hard during the past years to push the inclusion of SSB tax into law. This tax will save many lives over the next years,” the agency said.

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