By Antonio Manaytay
Titay rubber farmers in Zamboanga Sibugay have decried deduction of P1 a kilo on their raw rubber products. This after the local government had implemented the ordinance “imposing taxes to all rubber buyers in the municipality.”
“The P1 deduction is actually a tax imposed on all rubber buyers that is passed on to the rubber farmers,” said Vicente Matugas, a rubber farmer leader.
Mayor Leonardo Talania had issued an order implementing the Ordinance 14-S-2014 “imposing tax to all rubber buyers in the barangay during Tabo Day.”
The local government passed the ordinance in 2014 during the time of Mayor Mec Rillera. It took five years for the local government to implement the ordinance.
There is a chain effect when the local government collects P1 tax on rubber traders, Matugas explained.
Naturally, he explained, the rubber buyers would pass on the P1 tax to the rubber farmers.
“It is sad that this is happening at a time the rubber farmers are reeling from low prices of the raw rubber,” he said.
The prices of raw rubber plummet to P23 a kilo in the province.
Matugas, who is the vice-chair of the Provincial Federation of Agriculture and Fisheries Council, said the farmers would lobby for the suspension of the tax measure.
The rubber farmers association is going to lobby with the provincial government, he intimated.
“We are going to ask for any help we can get from the government to help the small rubber farmers,” Matugas said.
Rubber tree farming is one of the major sources of income of local farmers.
The Zamboanga Peninsula is the top rubber producer in the country. Its rubber production comprises about 35 percent of the total national production. (Mindanao Sun)