Higher excise duty on tobacco affects farmers

Do not kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.

It was a call Senator Robert Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Malacañang favored a “sin” tax bill, which seeks to impose high excise taxes on the tobacco industry.

Tobacco is produced in North Luzon, where Marcos and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile come from.

Enrile had vowed to defend Ilocano tobacco farmers, as the roots of blood in Ilocano-speaking areas of Northern Luzon. He argued that the “sin” tax bill will be in favor of foreign brands of cigarettes.

The request was made by Marcos during his call on Wednesday night Senator Franklin M. Drilon, acting chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, which insists on the approval of the Senate to increase taxes on sin products - cigarettes and alcohol, to bring that about P45 billion to P40 billion in government revenues.

The tobacco farmers who produce are expected to be affected by the imposition of higher excise tax on cigarettes should be extended help, Marcos said.

Tobacco farmers in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur have an average tobacco farm about 0.7 hectares, slightly higher in La Union and other provinces of Pangasinan and those in the Cagayan Valley.

There are about 18,000 farmers engaged in tobacco farming.

While the bill seeks to replace Drilon collect some P26 billion cigarette industry, Marcos felt that the real figure could be P20 billion.

Marcos also questioned the assumption that the measures Drillon was replaced on-site support for the measure Senator Ralph G. Recto.

Recto recently resigned as the Senate ways and means committee chairman after Malacañang and the Department of Finance (DOF) ridiculed his committee report, which sought to P15 billion P20 billion revenue take from tobacco and alcohol industries, significantly lower DoF favored the bill.

Marcos said that the measure wills Drilon contraband cigarettes, did not properly assess revenue collection P26.8 billion and will not reduce the number of smokers.

The son of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos said that the amendment to the bill when the Senate resumes Drilon regular session on Monday in an effort to have the Senate vote on Monday night.

In addition, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Drilon will bring to the plenary discussion of the proposed 2013 national budget of P2 billion.

These two measures are aimed at immediate approval in Congress is four weeks from Christmas break on December 22.

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