Duque clarifies he's not for taxing 'daing'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified he is not keen on including "daing" or sun-dried fish when he proposed a tax hike on salted products.

Lawmakers were quick to criticize the proposal after health officials said they are studying it. Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said the Department of Health may be "going overboard" while his colleagues stressed that increasing taxes on salty food would disadvantage the poor – whose staple food include salted dried fish.

READ: Some solons reject higher taxes on salty products

Speaking in a media briefing in Quezon City on Saturday, Duque said nothing has been set on paper yet, and public consultations still have to be conducted.

"We will follow what the public says through a process. Lahat naman yan may proseso," Duque said in a media briefing.

"Para sa 'kin nga, I don’t agree that we should tax daing, tuyo, bagoong but there must be some kind of a starting point – siguro yung mga talagang very low or zero nutritional value," he added.

Duque reiterated that excessive salt consumption leads to heart diseases and other ailments. Citing a study, he said Filipinos consume an average of 4.3 grams of sodium per day. The World Health Organization recommends only 2 grams daily.

Duque earlier said health risks could be minimized by a tax measure similar to that imposed on sugary drinks.

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law imposes additional taxes on fuel, sugary drinks, coal, cars, tobacco, and cosmetic surgeries while lowering the personal income tax duties. The law slaps a ₱6 per liter tax on beverages using caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, and ₱12 per liter on beverages using high fructose corn syrup.

Tax collections from TRAIN totaled ₱68.4 billion in 2018.