Financing alternatives to tobacco growing: Philippine experience in implementing Art. 17 and 18
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Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Thailand
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A390
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Background and challenges to implementation:
The tobacco industry has perpetuated the myth that alternatives to tobacco are not economically viable or are non-existent. However, increasing global evidence showing the harmful effects of tobacco among workers, their families and communities, the economy, and the environment are compelling even the world's top tobacco producers to find alternatives to tobacco growing.
FCTC Articles 17 and 18 obligate Parties to provide support for economically viable alternative livelihood to tobacco growers and workers. Policy options and recommendations on economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing were adopted at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties in 2012.
This presentation will highlight the Philippine's experience in using the Sin Tax Law's provision of earmarked revenues specifically on implementation of alternative livelihood to tobacco farming. Key issues and challenges hindering implementation will be identified, while policy recommendations will be proposed to ensure that viable alternatives are implemented effectively.

Intervention or response:
The Philippine's Sin Tax Law enacted in 2012 restructured the excise taxes of tobacco and alcohol products. The law was both a fiscal measure to increase government revenues, and a health measure that discourages tobacco consumption and increases allotment for healthcare. The law also amended existing laws that allocated incremental revenues from tobacco excise taxes for programs to promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco farmers and workers in areas where they are cultivated.

Results and lessons learnt:
Vegetables and corn are suitable alternatives in areas where tobacco is cultivated. Cost returns analysis shows that cultivating vegetables gave 1.5 to 5 times higher net income while corn is at par in terms of revenue.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
By providing funding for implementation of alternative livelihood, the Philippines has started complying with FCTC Article 17 and 18. Government efforts should be expanded to ensure that programs aimed at promoting alternative livelihoods to tobacco farming are implemented effectively.