Not her fault daw! Gov Marcos blames Ilocos Norte finance panel over tobacco tax controversy
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on February 28 passed the blame on the provincial government’s finance committee regarding the alleged anomalous approval of the P294.3-million tobacco excise tax shares.
The House committee on good government and public accountability questioned the Ilocos Norte politiko how the P294.3 million was released as cash advances despite violating Commission on Audit (COA) regulations.
COA regulations state that cash advances may only be used for salaries and wages, commutable allowances, honoraria and similar payments to government servants, and petty operating expenses.
But the P294.3 million was released as cash advances for the purchase of medicines, construction projects, and motor vehicles.
“Cash advance was the preferred mode of payment recommended by the local finance committee. And given that, this is the preferred mode as well of the suppliers. Dahil laging nagmamadali, eh talagang cash advance ang pinambabayad namin,” Marcos said.
The House panel also noted that the purchases were not in line with Republic Act 7171 or “An Act To Promote The Development Of The Farmers In The Virginia Tobacco-producing Provinces.”
RA 7171 states that the excise tax shares shall be “utilized to advance the self-reliance of the tobacco farmers.”
“Ang pagkaintindi namin sa RA 7171 ay general guidelines yung apat na kategoriya, pero talagang hangad nito ay to improve the farmers’ general welfare and well-being,” Marcos said.
But tobacco farmers present in the hearing refuted Marcos’ claim, saying they have not benefitted from Ilocos Norte’s tobacco excise tax shares.
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