Cagayan farmers: 50% loan condonation not enough


BAGUIO CITY — A farmers’ group in Cagayan said the 50% loan condonation recommended by the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) branch in the province is not enough to ensure their immediate recovery.

“The amount is a welcome relief, however, with the extent of damage, the NTA should write-off our entire loan for the season,” said Isabelo Adviento, chairperson of Danggyan dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan-CV).

In a post on its Facebook page, the agency said that its branch in Cagayan recommended the “condonation of the 50% of the amount of production assistance of the affected farmers” for the coming tobacco season as an intervention for the rehabilitation of damaged curing sheds.
He stressed that government agencies like the NTA, should lead the practice of condoning farmer’s loans in times of disasters.

“With the billions squeezed from tobacco farmers, both loan condonation and direct financial assistance for the next cropping would be imperative and most appropriate,” Adviento pointed.

RAVAGED. Massive damages in crops and properties pushed farmers to press for loan condonation, food aid, and financial assistance for the next cropping season. Besides assistance for their production needs, farmers in Cagayan Valley are also seeking help to rebuild their homes and farm barns. (Photo courtesy of Danggayan Cagayan Valley)

Excise Tax Share

Last year, Cagayan’s provincial share from the tobacco excise tax collected by the government reached P26.06 million according to the Budget Department’s Memorandum No. 76 dated October 6. Combined share for the tobacco-producing municipalities in the province is P268.09 million, with the town of Amulong receiving the lion’s share at P76.32 million.

Section 8 of Republic Act 8240, a legislation that amended the National Internal Revenue Code, sets 15% of the excise tax collected from Burley and Native tobacco products for the provinces planting the crops.

Originally, 80% of the provincial shares are coursed through the district representatives. With the Supreme Court ruling banning legislators from meddling with projects and post-enactment insertions, 90% of the share is now divided among the municipalities producing the crop based on their volume of production. The remaining 10% is downloaded to the provincial government.

Damage assessment

In the same post, the agency said its branch office reported affected tobacco farmers incurred damage worth P47.4 million due to Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut).

Farmer-cooperators under the agency’s Rice Project Wet Season lost at least P1.95 million worth of rice crops, with expected sales P2.14 million while 1,121 who planted corn were robbed of P42.37 million by the storm.

Also destroyed were the newly installed and repaired curing barns worth P2.64 million of 324 farmers who received Curing Barn Assistance after Typhoon Lawin.

Branch Manager Dr. Corazon R. Riazonda led the conduct of post-Ompong damaged assessment in the towns of of Tuao, Solana, Piat, Baggao, Alcala, and Peñablanca a few days after the typhoon.

Agricultural loses in the rgion reached P15 billion in Cagayan Valley according to the agriculture department. #