Manila Bulletin - Tobacco Farmers Getting P6-Billion Assistance

17 March 2013

Tobacco farmers and their families would soon reap the fruits of the passage of the Sin Tax Law as an additional P6 billion would be earmarked for the promotion of their welfare under this year’s budget.

Team PNoy campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon said the additional funding, which came with the passage of Republic Act 10351 or Sin Tax Law in December last year, will benefit the tobacco farmers from La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Pangasinan.

“Our farmers can be assured of a variety of assistance from the government because of the sin tax law, which was stalled in the Congress for 16 years,” he said on the eve of Team PNoy’s sortie in this city, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary of its cityhood.

The chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means explained that the additional P6 billion is on top of the P4 billion annually allocated to these provinces under Republic Act 7171 which states that 15 percent of the incremental tobacco revenue collected from the excise tax on tobacco products would be set aside for tobacco farmers.

“The passage of the sin tax law is attributed to the support of majority of the senators. We need this kind of support to push the legislative agenda of the President,” Drilon said.

Team PNoy bets re-electionist Sens. Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes, and Alan Peter Cayetano worked for the passage of the Sin Tax Law, which is targeting P33.96 billion in additional revenues this year.

Drilon even assured that the government has “doubled the safety not being provided under the law to help tobacco farmers augment their income and to support alternative livelihoods for them.”

Yesterday’s Team PNoy campaign rally was attended by farmers, which Drilon described as “a show of gratitude to the Aquino administration for the additional benefits they will receive because of the sin tax law.”

He said input subsidies will be given to farmers to produce a better quality of tobacco leaf and for the training of farmers who want to shift to other crops that yield higher income.