MANILA, Philippines—Beware the Ilocano vote—not just in the so-called Solid North but all over the country.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday warned reelectionist senators who ratified the sin tax bill of a backlash from voters not only from northern Luzon but from their relatives and friends scattered all over the country.
Marcos, a former governor of the tobacco-producing province of Ilocos Norte, said he expected Ilocanos living outside the region to make their displeasure known over the sin tax bill Congress passed that would drastically raise tobacco and alcohol taxes.
“This Christmas I’ll be going to Ilocos. I’m sure they [tobacco farmers] will call a meeting to discuss the effects of the sin tax on them,” Marcos said at Friday’s news forum at the Senate.
“I think Ilocanos who don’t live up north will make their presence felt because of the sin tax bill. They still have relatives and friends among those that would be affected,” he said.
Under the sin tax measure ratified by both houses of Congress after a hearing in the bicameral conference committee, the tobacco industry is expected to generate P164.47 billion in tax revenue in the next five years.
On the other hand, the incremental revenue target for distilled fermented liquor for 2013 to 2017 is P48.53 billion and for distilled spirits P35.49 billion.
The sin tax bill is expected to generate P33.96 billion in incremental revenue in 2013. Of this amount, the tobacco industry is mandated to collect P23.4 billion.
Marcos believes the 69:31 tax-sharing ratio between the tobacco and alcohol producers will kill the tobacco industry and cost the farmers their livelihood.
“There is an election. They all know who voted for what. It’s rather clear to them. They observed, they watched,” said Marcos of the Ilocano farmers and their relatives and friends.
“The campaign period will come, we’ll go around and people will ask us who we should help among the candidates,” he added.
Marcos said he and Nacionalista Party mate, reelectionist Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, had talked about how Trillanes’ vote in favor of the sin tax bill could affect his candidacy.
“I know I’ll be hit in the North,” Marcos quoted Trillanes as saying.
While the bicam-approved P23.4-billion tax burden on tobacco is lower than the Senate-approved version in the first year, Marcos said the succeeding years up to 2017 would see a higher burden share for tobacco than that recommended by the Senate.
“It’s back-loaded,” he said. Marcos voted for the Senate version of the sin tax bill but against the bicameral conference committee version. The measure will now go to President Aquino for his signature and enactment into law.