Pagbusisi sa paggamit ng tobacco tax shares ng LGUs, hiniling

Jul 30, 2017

Hinihimok ng mga magsasaka ng tabako sa rehiyon ng Ilocos na busisiin ng mga mambabatas kung paano ginagamit ng local government units ang kanilang mga bahagi sa tobacco excise tax.
Ang mga magsasaka sa ilalim ng Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (STOP Exploitation) ay nagkilos-protesta sa mga mambabatas sa House of Representatives habang isinasagawa ng Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability ang pagsisiyasat sa diumano ay maanomalyang transaksyon ni Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.
“The House investigation on the LGU excise tax share under RA 7171 should include also include RA 8240 and the study of fund utilization of all tobacco producing provinces since the laws took effect,” giit ng mga ito.
Ayon kay Zaldy Alfiler, secretary general ng STOP Exploitation, ang usapin sa maling paggamit at pag-abuso sa pondo sa Ilocos Norte ay tuktok lamang ng laganap at malawakang korapsyon ng pondo na dapat sana ay para sa ikauunlad ng buhay ng mga magsasaka ng tabako.
Kaya ang hustisyang nais ng mga magsasaka ay isang mas masusing imbestigasyon.
“While the investigation and immediate prosecution of (Gov. Marcos) is welcome, the inclusion of bigger fund misuse and corruption in other provinces, and indictment of the officials involved are important steps to ensure that truth and justice for the farmers will prevail,” ani Alfiler.
“If P400,000 merits the indictment for graft, then P26.45 and P26 millions are more than enough to jail these erring officials,” dagdag pa niya.
Kamakailan ay isinakdal ng Sandiganbayan si dating mayor ng Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur Carlos Asuncion sa paglalaan nito ng P400,000 sa magkakaibang organisasyon na hindi naman nauugnay sa tobacco farmers.
Noong 2013, inirekomenda ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ang pagpila ng kasong graft and corruption laban kina dating Ilocos Sur governors Luis Chavit Singson at Deogracias Victor Savellano sa hindi wastong paggamit sa P26 milyon mula sa bahagi ng Ilocos Sur sa tobacco excise tax.
Ani Alfiler, “Since 1993, we have been demanding that funds from RA 7171 and subsequently in 1997, from RA 8240 be utilize in projects that directly answers agrarian issues such as landlessness, usury and backward production methods but local governments used the funds for infrastructure projects that are remote from what the farmers really need.”
Maliban sa nabanggit na mga issue, “for more than two decades, funds from RA 7171 and 8240 were employed by politicians to strengthen their dynasties and political patronage in the Ilocos region,” maigting na pahayag ni Alfiler. Ace Alegre / ABN

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