MANILA, March 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday disclosed that PHP1 billion from unpaid taxes due the government could pay for a year's worth of maintenance medicines, laboratory tests and medical care of around 70,000 of the poorest Filipinos who are at risk for heart attack or stroke due to tobacco use and second hand smoke exposure.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial made this statement following the PHP9.564 billion tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against Mighty Corporation for the alleged use of fake tax stamps.
There are more still more than 15 million smokers in the country, who smoke at home or in public places and more than half of all women and children are regularly exposed to deadly second hand smoke. Our initial calculations show that PHP1 billion can be used to pay for daily maintenance medicines, laboratory work and medical care for deadly diseases that are caused by tobacco use. One out of four Filipinos has high blood pressure and half of them do not know it. We need to invest on prevention, early detection of hypertension, maintenance medications and enabling patients to live healthier. The money we get from tobacco taxes can be put to good use to prevent conditions caused by tobacco among the poorest 70,000 adult Filipinos who are at risk. said Secretary Ubial.
We know that the poorest Filipinos at risk for heart attack and stroke cannot afford to pay for their daily maintenance medications. Through early detection and provision of maintenance medications -- heart attacks and strokes can be prevented. We are currently designing a program of care for patients at risk for heart attacks and strokes using electronic medical records for the poorest 20 million Filipinos who are the priority of the Duterte administration. We intend to provide more for those who have the less in life.
The DOH congratulates the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Philippine National Police for catching delinquent taxpayers such as big tobacco companies who not only kill people by their products, but also by their tax evasion. The excise taxes they owe the government are meant to pay for medicines, commodities and services that can be used to prevent and control the diseases they cause, Secretary Ubial added.
The DOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) have repeatedly warned the public of how tobacco is the leading risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and various types of cancer. Data provided by the DOH revealed that 68,325 Filipinos died because of diseases of the vascular system in 2013. The figure does not yet include those who died because of heart attacks and diabetes. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency