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Garin frowns on salty food tax: Salty food like tuyo, daing, bagoong vital in Pinoy diet

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Former Health Secretary and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin on Monday added her voice to those opposing the proposal of the Department of Health (DOH) to impose a sin tax on salty food.

She reminded the DOH of the “vital role” salt plays on the Filipino diet, especially salty foods such as tuyo, daing and bagoong.

“I would like to remind the Department that salt has played a vital role in our lives and in the Filipino diet thus DOH should re-examine its bid to slap higher taxes on salty foods,” she said.

“Salt, used moderately, aids our digestion and excretion. The unique identification of any Filipino household is marked with having a salt in our kitchen and eating tuyo, daing and bagoong to name a few,” Garin said.

She added that while it is laudable for public health’s sake to push for a measure that will make food products with high amounts of salt be taxed, “this effort to encourage Filipino families to buy healthier options will stretch the budget of every household.”

“We have to understand that many Filipinos do not have refrigerators in their houses, so essentially, they will buy salted fish to preserve it for the next few days,” she said.

Garin said DOH’s proposal will also have negative effects on the livelihoods of our fishermen and their families, consequently making salty food less affordable.

“If we are really concerned about addressing the excessive consumption of salt as a health issue, it is high time for us to revisit the implementation of Republic Act No. 8172, otherwise known as ASIN Law,” she said.

“RA No. 8172 was enacted to address the lack of micronutrients in the country, and after more than twenty (20) years of its passage, a probe is necessary to discuss solutions that are relevant not just to health, but also in the preservation of culture and means of livelihood for those families who depend on the local salt industry,” she said.