The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) expressed support for the inclusion of tobacco in the Philippines’ Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, reports Inquirer.net.
There are two proposals in Congress: House Bill 3917 and Senate Bill 1812. Both bills would amend Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, which outline the crops covered by the law and the penalties for smuggling.
“The NTA is in solidarity with the proponents of the proposed measures as these would [offer] solutions to the curbing of tobacco smuggling and illicit tobacco trading/agricultural smuggling in the country,” the NTA said.
“The proposed measures against illicit tobacco trade and smuggling were meant to protect the local tobacco industry and sustain and increase the sin tax collection for the government coffers,” the NTA said.
According to the NTA, tobacco is a high-value crop that contributes tax revenue to education, health, infrastructure and more.
“The tobacco industry is one of the strongest pillars of the country’s economy and the lifeblood of the North as it provides livelihood and sustenance to at least 2 million people, including the [600,000] tobacco farmers and their families,” the NTA said.