Piñol wants scrapping of revolutionary tax included in talks with NPA
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol will ask government’s peace negotiators to include the scrapping of the revolutionary tax in the talks with the New People’s Army.
“Not very many people know it but the recent agreement between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA) to declare an indefinite ceasefire will have a huge impact on agriculture,” Piñol said in a post on his Facebook page.
“That is if along with the silencing of the guns, the collection of the revolutionary taxes by the NPAs will finally be stopped.”
According to the agri chief, the revolutionary taxes the NPA’s extort from farmers make life even more difficult in the countryside.
The NPAs extort the funds from those in the countryside for the war it wages and they attack even big agricultural plantations if the revolutionary taxes are not paid.
“The NPAs have imposed taxation on every rubber tree, every coconut tree and every oil palm tree standing.
They also collect huge fees from both small and big banana plantations,” Piñol said. “Of course, the farmers suffer from the revolutionary tax collections, especially so since most of the agricultural areas in the NPA influenced areas were ravaged by the El Niño.”
With the price of rubber plummeting and the price of coconut and palm oil falling, the burden that the revolutionary taxes place on farmers have become even greater.
“There was no definitive announcement on whether the ceasefire declaration would also mean a temporary cessation of the collection of the revolutionary taxes. This is an issue which I will bring to the attention of the government negotiators so that it could be discussed during the next meeting of the panel of negotiators,” Piñol said.
“Just like the successful ending of hostilities, the monthly collection of taxes from poor farmers should also stop,” he added. “If that is done, there will be true peace at last.”