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Tobacco excise tax hike opposed

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur – Local officials here will troop to the House of Representatives next week to express their strong opposition to House Bill 5727, the Palace version of excise tax bill, which they said would destroy the tobacco industry and kill the livelihood of some 2.7 million Filipinos from tobacco-growing provinces in the country.

They vowed to push instead for the adoption of Subcommittee Report No. 6 presented by the subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson Jr., which retains the current excise tax structure on tobacco and alcohol products. In a recent letter endorsed by Ilocos Sur Vice Governor Deogracias Victor Savellano, local officials in Region 1 urged Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the ways and means panel, that they be given the opportunity to present their position before the committee as stakeholders of the tobacco industry.

“Considering that an increase in the excise tax on tobacco products will have an impact on the demand for tobacco leaf and on the livelihood of tobacco farmers in the tobacco-growing regions, we would like to present the position of tobacco farmers and the local government units in our region regarding the pending House Bills on excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products, before the Committee on Ways and Means makes any decision,“ the local executives said in the letter. (Rizaldy Comanda)