NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur: The Provincial Government here is set to receive P1.4 billion in excise taxes this year, according to National Tobacco Administration (NTA) Administrador Edgardo Zaragoza.
He said Ilocos Sur will receive a P700-million share in the said excise tax this year in accordance with Republic Act 7171 also known as Tobacco Excise Tax. Ilocos Norte, La Union and Abra provinces will also get their respective shares based on their production of virginia tobacco.
Zaragosa noted though that the release of the funds for the Ilocos Region was delayed because of the legal issues surrounding the use of funds from sin taxes. He added that the issue is now being looked into by Malacañang.
Zaragoza, a former mayor of Narvacan town, also said that the new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA7171 has to be implemented to closely monitor and correctly audit projects on agriculture in the region.
“The administration is very cautious (in releasing the funds) as a result of Supreme Court’s decision declaring the unconstitutionality of pork barrel or DAP funds,” Zaragoza said.
He also urged local government units to strictly follow the new guidelines in the IRR, which lays the rules in the implementation of projects funded under RA7171.
Zaragoza asked tobacco planters to stick to the best agricultural practices as designed by the government’s agricultural technicians to produce quality tobacco products that can compete in the world market.
Last year, the production of quality tobacco was severely affected by the El Niño phenomenon as well as other agricultural products like corn and rice.
“We expect that the implementation of the new IRR has also with it the funds for irrigation projects to augment the supply of water during the dry spell,” Zaragoza added.