The Department of Health (DOH), seeking to address the ills of alcohol consumption in the Philippines, joined the Sin Tax Coalition in a forum dubbed as “Alcohol Tax: Itaas” in support of higher alcohol taxes in Quezon City. 

The forum fielded public health advocates and members of the media to raise awareness on the risks and health impacts of alcohol consumption, which was found to be a significant risk factor in over 27,000 deaths nationwide, according to recent data from the Global Burden of Disease Health Metrics.

Findings from the DOH’s 2023 Health Promotion and Literacy Longitudinal Study revealed that a significant portion of Filipino adults perceive moderate alcohol consumption as harmless or even beneficial to health.

“No level of alcohol consumption is without risk.”

This perception contrasts with the evidence reaffirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this year, emphasizing that no level of alcohol consumption is without risk.

“Drinking alcohol is a threat to public health in the Philippines. We must implement evidence-based policies to mitigate these risks,” Health Secretary Ted Herbosa stressed.

The effects of alcohol consumption are multifaceted, as a study published in 2022 in the journal Acta Medica Philippina by Lu, (now Health Secretary) Herbosa, and Lu cited data from the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from 2005 to 2020.

“In Metro Manila, alcohol intoxication increases the risk of driver’s death and injury, where 12,000 road users die annually due to road crashes.”

It was determined that, in Metro Manila, alcohol intoxication increases the risk of driver’s death and injury, where 12,000 road users die annually due to road crashes and almost one-third are alcohol-related crashes.

“The data are clear – there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. We must act now. By educating the public, enforcing stricter regulations, and providing support for those struggling with alcohol addiction, we can create a healthier future towards a Bagong Pilipinas kung saan Bawat Buhay Mahalaga,” Herbosa stressed.

The DOH continues to advocate evidence-based policies to reduce alcohol-related harm and promote public health including implementing public health warning labels, increasing alcohol pricing (including excise taxes), strengthening restrictions on availability, and enforcing comprehensive bans on alcohol marketing.

Moreover, the public is reminded to contact the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline 1553 if anyone is experiencing alcohol addiction and is uncertain about where to find support.



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