The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) welcomed the report that the sin tax collections for the first nine months of the year has exceeded the target for the entire 2014.

According to NVAP President Emer Rojas, it is a welcome news that tax collections from “sin” products are more than what was expected as this could mean more funds to help finance the healthcare program of the government.

“One benefit of the Sin Tax Law is to help provide more funds for PhilHealth services and these services are intended to benefit the urban poor, Pantawid Pamilya program beneficiaries, Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and other marginalized sectors,” said Rojas. “It is estimated that 2.5million Filipino families shall benefit from the PhilHealth cards in 2014 which includes 250,000 PWD families,” Rojas added.

Last week, the Department of Finance reported that a total of P91.64 billion sin tax revenues have been collected just from January to September of this year.

The amount already surpassed by 42 percent the full-year target of P64.55 billion for the entire 2014.

The present sin tax revenue is also higher than the P65.46 billion collected during the same nine months of last year.

To note, there are four million families that are considered as poorest of the poor are currently enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Rojas, who is also a sector representative at the National Anti-Poverty Commission, pointed that having more revenues may mean that the Z-Morph packages of PhilHealth for persons with disabilities (PWDs) may be enhanced further to benefit more.

“PWDs must not be left behind if the government is to provide universal healthcare program,” said Rojas.

There is an estimated 1.443 million Filipinos that are part of the PWD sector, with many in need of prosthesis and wheelchairs, among others.

In addition, Rojas said the NVAP is looking forward to seeing more senior citizens get healthcare assistance from the government.

Last month, Aquino signed RA 10645, which has made it easier for citizens that are 60 years old and above to be covered by PhilHealth.

But while it welcomes the news of higher sin tax revenues, NVAP continued to express its favor for a comprehensive and responsive health promotion agenda from the national government as among its main program.

“While health care is an essential obligation of the government, prevention through a strategic health promotion would be the ideal strategy to attain a sustainable health program for Filipinos,” Rojas, a Global Cancer Ambassador, said.

Rojas, it can be recalled, had earlier identified the Graphic Health Warning law as a best example of preventing smoking-related illnesses instead of the government being more focused on ensuring adequate healthcare provision for Filipinos.