National Geographic : 1899 Feb
58 THE ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE PHILIPPINES 1871 he relentlessly exposed the condition of affairs under the monopoly and strongly advised its abolition, unless the gov ernment wished to destroy tobacco planting altogether and bring about the absolute ruin of the planters, who were living in the greatest misery. Furthermore, he showed that the neces sary new buildings and plant in the factories would pretty well absorb all the profit of the ensuing year. This very competent and energetic man could not carry his wishes into effect at the time; but ten years later, in conjunction with the colonial min ister, Fernando de Leon y Castillo, he was able to bring about the abolition of the monopoly, and on July 1, 1882, the plan ters were freed from their chains. On January 1, 1883, the free manufacture of tobacco was also allowed. The rate of duty was, however, raised, tobacco and cigars paying an export duty, while the import duty was raised 50 per cent. In the first place, the treasury bonds had to be redeemed, and this was done by means of auctions, whereby $150,000 was redeemed monthly, prece dence being given to those holders who offered their bonds at the lowest rate. The government had even the impudence to declare that demands for more than 80 per cent would not be regarded. The first bondholders were ready to take 45 and 55 per cent, but it was soon found that a number of holders were prepared to take vigorous steps, refusing to accept less than 80 per cent. This caused the government to hasten the redemp tion, and at the close it had cleared a sum of two and one-half million dollars. Since January 1, 1883, various cigar factories have been estab lished, of which, however, only a few turn out a really first-class article. The cigars manufactured by many Chinese factories and in the homes of the natives are of very inferior quality. A new tariff was introduced in 1891, which professed to be based upon a duty of 20 per cent. In reality, however, nearly all articles yielded more, some even yielding over 100 per cent on their value. Then there were various additional fees to pay on imports, and the export fees were also several times changed. Today the practice is as follows: To the import tariff, which in the case of some articles is increased by 20 per cent, are added harbor dues, amounting to 10 per cent and 8 per cent of the value of the goods, which is fixed by law. Spanish goods pay only the harbor dues and the 8 per cent of the value, thus get ting upon the market to the disadvantage of other better and originally cheaper produce.