Tobacco growers say sin tax hike 'worrisome'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2019 02:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2019 02:53 PM

Different brands of local cigarettes for sale are pictured along a sidewalk in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, Philippines May 9, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA – A group of tobacco growers on Wednesday described as "worrisome," proposals to further increase cigarette taxes.

Tax increases in the last 5 years have displaced farmers and paved the way for the entry of counterfeit cigarettes, the PhilTobacco Growers Association Inc said in a statement. 

"These cigarette prices have contributed to the spike in inflation to all time highs. Our families are barely coping," the group said. 

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Wednesday said raising taxes on tobacco and alcohol products is a "priority" for government and President Rodrigo Duterte will likely certify legislation on it as "urgent."