News Room | Speeches


Making NTA as best as it should be for the industry

Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, NTA 26th Anniversary July 24, 2013

Unang-una, magpapasalamat po tayo sa lahat ng pumunta dito at lalong-lalo na sa mga employees ng NTA for keeping on working hard to make this agency as vibrant and as dynamic as it is. As you see, we have undertaken this reward system as a means to continue giving inspiration, motivation, and continuing challenge to each and every employee so that they will give their best for the good of the agency and for us to be able to comply and work hard to pursue the mandates that have been assigned to the NTA.

I just hope that for the last, almost, three years that I have been at the helm of the NTA, we have been able to do what is necessary for the agency. We all know that in the past, the agency was having problems financially.

When I joined NTA in 2010, our income was only about PhP40-M, but right now, it's almost PhP150-M. Thanks to our partners in the private sector.

Actually we should be imposing more fees for us to be able to work at least on a breakeven status, meaning to recover our expenses. Our salaries are now running to almost about PhP250-M because of the series of salary increases as a result of the Salary Standardization Law.

Our salaries have doubled in the last 4 years such that personal services is almost PhP160 to PhP170M. It is unjust also on the part of the private sector to keep bearing all these expenses of the agency. Anyway, under RA 4155, we are able to draw from this fund for our expenditures, parang subsidy, to cover whatever deficiencies we have in meeting our expenditures.

I would like to inform the agency personnel that based on our discussions with the DBM, at least we are assured of continuing support to the NTA and that is the reason why we are able to do as much as we can. We have so many programs that we are implementing. However, rest assured na lahat ng mga benefits niyo, lahat na dapat, will always be given to our employees.

Some say that the industry may face problems because of the sin tax, or the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but I tell you, malakas na malakas ang industrya, wala po tayong kailangang ikabahala.

It will continue to grow and to become a strong industry, especially now that the industry contributes a very high percentage of the total revenue collections of the National Government.

In 2012, the National Government collected PhP22-B from the excise tax on cigarettes, and this year you may not believe it, we are estimating to increase to about PhP55-B, a PhP23-B in- crease. In the next fi ve years we are hoping to generate additional revenue from cigarettes of about PhP200-B. Kaya ang laking expectations sa industry and I'm very positive that the industry will continue to exist.

Ang sabi kanina ni Mr. Winston Uy, there were some problems this year as a result of the production using a new system and I'm looking forward to the new tripartite conference, sometime in September. I'm hoping that the private sector will be able to support us so that we will be able to come up with very reasonable and profi table levels and that our partners, mga magsasaka namin, will continue to be inspired.

Till the end we will continue to plant tobacco. Actually, nagkakaroon ngayon ng konting problema. There were some uncertainties, whether they should continue planting as a result of some prices that were low in the initial period of our trading operation, but we are confident with the assurances coming from the private sectors, Philip Morris and Universal Leaf.

Mighty Corporation is now a very big user of tobacco. I'm sure that there will be sacrifices for next year and I'm sure the industry will continue to grow.

Sa mga magsasaka, we assure you that NTA will continue to work as best as it can to advance the interest of the tobacco farmers.

Ang ating tema, continuing relevance, para po sa inyo yan and we will continue to do our best to see to it that you are duly protected and you will get the best arrangement with our private sector, so that you will end up profi table in the long run. As you all know, we are coming up with several complimentary programs to increase the income of our farmers and, hopefully, this will make a big difference on the income of our farmers.

Kaya yon po ang direksyon ng NTA. Aside from continuously researching with the private sector on the best method of planting, to make it cheap, to get the best prices possible, to get the best yield, we are also working on other programs para magkaroon ng other additional supplemental sources of income for our beloved farmers.

Sa atin pong lahat, sana ay tuloy-tuloy po ang ating paniniwala at ating pakikipagtulungan sa NTA. Kami sa Management, kami po ng mga kasama kong mga Deputy Administrators plus the Board, we pledge our full cooperation and sincerity to continue to make NTA as best as it should be. Thank you at magandang gabi! Mabuhay po ang NTA!