Palace silent on cigarette tax

PNS — MALACAÑANG will not say what President Be-nigno Aquino thinks of the proposal to impose a P4.50 tax for every cigarette stick.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there has been no discussion on the issue, decli-ning to comment if the President is receptive to the idea.

‘There is no policy decision on that yet. We have to coordinate with the Secretary of Finance about it,” Lacierda said.

The Department of Health has endorsed the proposal of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines for the government to impose a P90 tax for every 20-stick cigarette pack or P4.50 per stick to generate funds for the various health programs especially for the poor. The additional tax is also expected to be a big boost to the government’s anti-smoking campaign.

Lacierda said he is not aware if the President, who is a smoker, is seriously considering the proposal. “I will be speculating at this point,” he said, even as he assured that the proposal will be discussed.