SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro—Tobacco farmers from this agricultural municipality have asked the government to give them their fair share of the tobacco excise tax.
The farmers said the Department of Budget and Management in March released the sum of P30,765,641 for the local government of San Jose as its LGU shares from tobacco excise tax under Republic Act 8240.
Based on guidelines issued last March by the DBM through former Budget secretary Florencio Abad, P10.69 billion were released to tobacco-producing LGUs nationwide.
Of the amount, P10.19 billion covers the excise tax on cigarettes and the remaining P503.9 million are taxes on tobacco.
Alberto Pelaez, 61, of Bgy. Magbay, and leader of the tobacco farmers’ group, Samahan Ng Magsasaka Ng Tabako Ng San Jose, said they had not received their share of the tobacco excise tax due them although they were made to sign a masterlist last May.
Pelaez said a certain Kagawad Bituin Manguerra, of Bgy. Bayotbot, made them sign a masterlist of San Jose tobacco farmer-beneficiaries who would receive either P15,000 cash each or its equivalent in water pumps for their use in their farms.
The tobacco farmers, numbering 1,316, came from the agricultural barangays of Magbay, Murtha, Canwaling, La Curva, Bayotbot and Camburay.
Erlinda Bilog, 66, also of Bgy. Magbay, said she was made to sign on May 6 in behalf of her dead son, Emerson Bilog, 23, a tobacco farmer, by Manguerra for a water pump to be used for irrigation of their farmland.
“But it’s August already and the water pump has not been given,” she said.
San Jose is second among the 10 LGUs with the highest share from the 2013 collection of burley and native tobacco excise tax under RA 8240. The other nine LGUs producing burley and native tobaccos come from the provinces of Isabela, Ilocos Sur and Cagayan.
The Virginia-type tobacco producing municipalities come from La Union, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. They receive the highest shares from the 2013 collection of excise tax on locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes.
Farmers of San Jose turn to tobacco growing as an alternate to palay farming after the harvest season. Planting of burley and native tobaccos is usually done during the cold months of December.
Harvest and drying come from March to June.
Pelaez said they need support from the National Tobacco Administration because “local tobacco farmers are often shortchanged by buyers from a giant cigarette manufacturing company which has the monopoly of the trade.”
Under the law, 15 percent of tax collections will go to tobacco-producing provinces to be spent for the benefit of tobacco farmers.
While the bulk of the remaining collections will go to the government’s universal health-care program, which provides Philippine Health Insurance Corp., medical assistance and heath facilities to millions of poor families.