Vehicle purchase using tobacco tax above board – Marcos

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ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos denied any irregularity in the provincial government’s purchase of P66 million worth of motor vehicles — 40 units of mini cab, five buses and 70 mini trucks — using excise taxes on tobacco. Marcos issued the statement in connection with the ongoing congressional probe on the alleged improper fund spending initiated by Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, adding that the assertion “is unfair and unwarranted.” Fariñas has accused Marcos of violating a law which provides that excise taxes on tobacco should be spent on cooperative projects that will enhance better quality of products, increase productivity, guarantee the market, and as a whole increase farmer’s income; livelihood projects particularly the development of alternative farming systems to enhance farmers income; agro-industrial projects that will enable tobacco farmers in the Virginia tobacco-producing provinces to be involved in the management and subsequent ownership of these projects such as post-harvest and secondary processing like cigarette manufacturing and by-product utilization; and infrastructure projects such as farm-to-market roads. “There was nothing irregular on the acquisition of vehicles intended for the tobacco farmers of Ilocos Norte for the year 2011 and 2012 amounting to P66.45 million. The motor vehicles were properly acquired and used by the tobacco farmers for the transport of their produce,” Marcos, who skipped the hearing because she was nursing shingles, said in a statement.

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