People's Journal - Tobacco farmers must benefit from sin taxes

In The News
14 January 2014

By Bernadette E. Tamayo | People's Journal

Featured-Image-Journal-OnlineREVENUES generated by the government from the implementation of the Sin Tax Law of 2012, should “trickle down” to the intended beneficiaries, such as tobacco farmers, Sen.Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday.

Marcos reminded the government that tobacco farmers were identified as among the direct beneficiaries of the revenues and increments resulting from the implementation of Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Act, a law which increased the excise tax on cigarette and alcohol products.

He said the excise tax collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) from tobacco and alcohol products from January to November last year reportedly amounted to P91.6 billion — exceeding the 2013 target excise tax collection of P85.5 billion.

“It’s very clear in the law that tobacco farmers should receive a certain percentage from the revenues out of the excise tax collection from tobacco products. If the law is very clear on that, the government should make sure that the farmers will get their entitlement,” Marcos said.

He noted that there are about 53,892 farmers who, together with their families, source their primary livelihood from the tobacco industry. Marcos and Sen.Juan Ponce Enrile, who both come from tobacco-producing provinces in the Ilocos region, voted against the passage of the sin tax measure in 2012 due to its supposed negative effect on the livelihood of tobacco farmers.

He said Section 8 of RA 10351 provides that “15 percent of the incremental revenue collected from the excise tax on tobacco products under R.A. No. 8240 shall be collected and divided among the provinces producing burley and native tobacco in accordance with the volume of tobacco leaf production.”

“The fund will be exclusively used to promote alternatives for tobacco farmers and workers like programs that will support farmers who shift to production of other agricultural products or commercial crops, financial support for displaced tobacco farmers, infrastructure projects like farm to market roads, among others, and agro-industrial projects that will enable them to be involved in the management and subsequent ownership of projects such as post-harvest and secondary processing like cigarette manufacturing and by-product utilization,” Marcos said.