May 27, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Khonghun commends President Marcos’ order to combat tobacco, vape product smuggling 

HOUSE Committee on Bases Conversion Chairman and Zambales 1st district Rep. Jay Khonghun has thrown his full support on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to intensify efforts against the smuggling of tobacco and vape products, 

stressing it is a significant step towards protecting public health and upholding the rule of law.

Khonghun, a House Assistant Majority Leader, called on the concerned departments,

including the Departments of Finance (DoF) and Trade and Industry (DTI) to help the President, pointing out that smuggling has been eroding the government’s economic gains. 

He emphasized the importance of tackling the illicit trade of tobacco and vape products, citing not only the health risks associated with these products but also the economic repercussions of smuggling on legitimate businesses and government revenues.

“It is crucial that we address and end the rampant smuggling of tobacco and vape products, which not only poses health hazards to our citizens but also undermines the efforts of legitimate businesses and deprives the government of much-needed revenue,” Khonghun, a member of the so-called House Young Guns.

Khonghun also cited Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez’s reaffirmation of his commitment to fight all forms of smuggling, including agricultural products, making it a top priority of the House of Representatives.

“Smuggling in general is not only economic issues but also forms of subversion that encourage lawlessness, promote syndicated crimes, and erode economic gains,” Khonghun said.

He further expressed confidence in the administration’s commitment to combatting this issue, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach that involves close cooperation between government agencies, law enforcement, and other stakeholders.

“I commend President Marcos for his decisive action in prioritizing the fight against tobacco and vape product smuggling. This sends a clear message that our government is serious about protecting public health and ensuring the integrity of our markets,” Khonghun said.

As the nation continues to grapple with the challenges posed by the illicit trade of tobacco and vape products, Khonghun reaffirmed his commitment to supporting measures aimed at curbing smuggling activities and safeguarding the well-being of Filipino citizens. 

During the 6th Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group (PSAC-ASG) meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday, President Marcos recognized the anti-smuggling measures of the government.

“Enforcement and anti-smuggling and all that. You have to beef them up, and I think we’re doing that,” the President said. 

In response, Special Assistant to the President on Economic and Economic Affairs Frederick Go said the DTI Consumer Protection Group has assured him that they will assign a significant number of people to monitor the vape industry.

The PSAC-ASG made several recommendations and policy requirements to protect the tobacco industry.

The advisory body pushed a move tasking the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release funds as prescribed under R.A. 4155 for the National Tobacco Authority (NTA) Sustainable Tobacco Enhancement Program (STEP).

It also sought amendments to the Anti-Agri Smuggling Act of 2016 to include tobacco products. 

The body also wants provisions on minimum retail price (MRP) and penalties for distributing and selling smuggled products.

The body also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to set a deadline for the registration of importers and manufacturers of vapor products and the BIR to start imposing tax requirements on tobacco and vapor products.

The Philippine tobacco industry provides livelihood to 2.2 million Filipinos. 

Tobacco excised tax makes up 4 percent of total government revenues or P135 billion 2023.

The government earmarks 50 percent of excise tax collection for Universal Health Care under the Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth, as well as for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP)