Press Release
May 30, 2019

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On sin tax, since staggered yung rate, will it fill the funding gap for UHC?

SFMD: We have to balance between the tax rates and the viability of cigarette industry. This staggered rate will be consistent with our need for the revenues and the need to protect the health of our people, therefore minimizing our public expenditure on public health.

Q: Can you elaborate on the amendments you're going to propose?

SFMD: RA 7171 was designed to provide for the losses the tobacco farmers would suffer because of the decline in the prevalence of tobacco smokers as a result of increasing taxes. What RA 7171 did is to allocate 15% of the excise taxes on tobacco for livelihood projects, for support to tobacco farmers; however, as it turns out, the total industry of tobacco in Northern Luzon is about P3.8 billion, while the earmarked funds for tobacco industry is about P18 billion. The amount given is grossly disproportionate. What I would propose is that, the increases in the excise tax on tobacco as a result of the sin tax that we are working on now should be devoted solely to the universal health program and benefit the entire country.

Q: On the issue of committee chairmanship, as a former senate president, normal ba itong mga baguhang senador na parang nakikipagbrasuhan para makuha yung mga major committees?

SFMD: I've been in the senate for more than 20 years. Tradition and seniority are always respected; major committees are always given to senior senators: blue ribbon, health, education, etc. The senior ones would have preference and that's the tradition.Of course, as I've said, it's up to the majority whether or not they follow this tradition. But the incoming senators, maybe they should, as we say, learn the ropes first of how lawmaking in the senate runs.

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