Tobacco monopoly|Jose Basco|Philippine History
The Philippines was colonized by Spain for more than 300 years starting in the latter part of the 16th century and lasted until 1898. Early on, the Spanish authorities showed little interest in the economic development of the archipelago such that expenses in maintaining the colony have to be subsidized by Mexico, another colony of Spain. When Jose Basco was appointed to become the governor-general of the Philippines in 1778, he sought to reverse the situation and make the Philippines financially self-sufficient. He went on to formulate a plan to develop the natural resources of the Philippines.
Among the policies in the “general economic plan” of Jose Basco was the tobacco monopoly which went into effect on March 1, 1782 after it was approved by the King of Spain. At that time, both the locals and foreigners were addicted to smoking and he thought the tobacco plant could be a great money-maker. He selected several provinces in north and central Luzon Island to be the centers for tobacco production. Among these provinces were Ilocos, Cagayan, and the areas covered by the present province of Nueva Ecija. The island of Marinduque was also included in the plan.
The government regulated the quantity to be produced and determined the price to be paid to the farmers. The export and import of the leaf as well as the manufacture of cigars and cigarette were monopolized by the colonial government.
Although Jose Basco was removed removed from office in 1787, tobacco monopoly remained in force until its abolition in 1881, a hundred years after its first implementation.