Philippine: Plea For Farmers

If the next sin tax increase were to be pushed through, the Government should help tobacco farmers and small retailers cope with the potential revenue loss they will suffer, according to a story in The Philippine Star quoting the Governor of the Ilocos Norte province, Imee Marcos.

The expected higher revenue from sin tax collection must be used to bankroll alternative, agriculture-related livelihoods for affected tobacco farmers, Marcos said.

Under Republic Act 7171, tobacco-producing provinces such as Ilocos Norte with an annual average production of not less than one million kg of Virginia tobacco are entitled to 15 percent of the excise tax collections from locally-manufactured cigarettes.

At the same time, Marcos wants the Government to crack down on cigarette smugglers and manufacturers of counterfeit tobacco products, which, she said, í«are killing the countryí»s two million tobacco farmersí».

She asked the Government to study carefully the impact of any massive cigarette excise tax increase on poor people such as farmers and sari-sari store owners.

í░Fake cigarettes seized in 2018 hit a record-high of P20.250 billion, depriving the government of much-needed revenues,í▒ said Marcos, who is running for the senate.

Legal cigarette sales have decreased as prices have more than tripled since 2013, and this, according to the National Tobacco Administration, has translated into a drop in tobacco-farm output of as much as 20 million kg annually.  Enditem