P87.6 million release approved for tobacco regulator

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday approved the release of P87.632 million to fund the National Tobacco Administration’s (NTA) second-quarter operations.

On May 9, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman signed the release of a Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) amounting to P87.632 million for the NTA.

“We understand that agriculture is part of the backbone of our economy. For this reason, our government ensures that every segment of our agricultural landscape receives the support and resources it needs to thrive,” she said in a statement.

The fund release is in line with a call by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and the Private Sector Advisory Council-Agriculture Sector Group to strengthen government support for the domestic tobacco industry.

The agency has an authorized appropriation of P550.504 million covered under a Special Allotment Release Order. Of total, a separate NCA for P175.276 million was issued in the first quarter.

Last year’s P550.5-million tobacco fund has been fully released, the DBM added.

NTA funding is sourced from 40% of specific taxes on Virginia-type cigarettes as well as tariff duties on imported leaf tobacco.

Earlier this month, tobacco farmers called on the government to pass the Anti-Agricultural Sabotage Act to address the rampant smuggling of tobacco products.

The measure only needs Mr. Marcos’ signature to become a law.

The Internal Revenue bureau recently seized illegal cigarettes which dodged taxes estimated at P150 million. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz