Tax on soft drinks, right thing to do – Boo Chanco
Younger and younger people in the Philippines are having diabetes, experiencing obesity and posing higher risk of heart attack. One way to inhibit consumption of unhealthy products, promote better diet and generate revenue at the same time is through soft drink taxes.
Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez recently expressed interest to implement higher taxation on higher taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and other non-alcoholic beverages that are in powder form or ready to drink. In a column for Philippine Star on Friday, July 8, Boo Chanco enumerated the benefits of implementing taxes on soft drinks.
Apart from the obvious health benefits, he said that costlier soft drinks will drive demand for other local products.
“We can expect an increased demand for products like “buko juice” and help improve the economic condition of our farmers.” He said.
As for the disapproval of soft drink producers, he said that they are likely to point the adverse effects to the welfare of sari sari store owners, sugar industry and other local entrepreneurs who are likely to be affected, which is all “bunk”.
“All those workers will find alternative sources of income from selling more healthful beverages. As a study I cited in a column last December concluded, experts think “a tax on unhealthy foods would act as an incentive to encourage manufacturers to change what goes into their products and make them healthier.” he explained.
As for our local sugar industry, he said that it is probably time to transform most of the land now planted to sugar into other high value crops. Compared to Thailand, locally produced sugar hadn’t been competitive, he added.
He also said that this would force soft drink companies to think of healthier alternatives to introduce to the market.
“I am glad the Duterte administration is finally coming around to see the point ignored by past administrations. More and more countries are imposing a higher soft drink tax simply because it is the right thing to do.’, he said.