By Freddie Lazaro
LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos is appealing to Congress to refrain from further increasing excise tax on tobacco products, for the sake of poverty-stricken tobacco farmers of Northern Luzon.
Marcos ruled that Filipinos from the North are continuously being neglected by the national government with regional inflation in the region being the highest compared to the rest of the country.
“We have significantly increased excise taxes on cigarettes twice already this year. Prices are going up, consumption is going down. Our tobacco farmers can’t take anymore reduction in their livelihood,” Marcos said.
“Why do we protect growers of copra, abaca, and sugar from the impact of taxation while shifting the burden on our poor tobacco farmers?” she asked. According to Marcos, Ilocos Norte farmers absorbed the wrath of several strong typhoons this year.
“They have barely recovered from these calamities, now Congress wants to impose a man-made disaster in the form of new taxes”, she stated.
Marcos said the government must give LIFE (Living Income for Farmers in Emergency ) to farmers in disaster-stricken areas as a form of immediate intervention for a quick turnaround for those who lost their crops while ensuring ample supply of cheap food for all Filipinos.
“The Constitutionally-vested right to a living wage should translate into LIFE for our farmers – the right to Living Income for Farmers in Emergency situations,” said Marcos.
“Simply put, in times of calamities or disasters and other emergency situations, farmers are always at a disadvantage. They have no income because their crops were destroyed.
Agarang tulong ang kailangan nila (timely aid is what they need),” she stressed.