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Universal health care funding projections to be reviewed due to missed sin tax targets

The Department of Finance (DOF) will be reviewing the projections in funding the implementation of the universal health care (UHC) as sin tax collections decreased due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday said missed collection targets of sin taxes “seem quite serious.”

The Cabinet official cited low demand for products such as alcohol and cigarettes amid the quarantine measures being implemented to contain COVID-19 spread.

Revenue to be generated from additional excise taxes on alcohol, cigarettes as well as its electronic variety are meant to be used for the UHC program and Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the Department of Health.

The DOF earlier estimated that P137.2 billion in revenues will be generated over the next five-years from sin taxes.

Aside from lower sin taxes, taxes collected from sugary drinks are also “relatively weak,” the Finance chief said.

“We will give you a breakdown of the missed targets,” Dominguez said.

With the anticipated lower collections from sin taxes, Dominguez said, “We will basically have to review again the projections of PhilHealth and we will have some proposals on that.”

Apart from lower revenues, the DOF will also consider the ballooning expenditures of PhilHealth because of the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have to measure both sides —additional expenditures and lowering of the [revenues],” he said. --KBK, GMA News