By Billy Begas
Two Deputy Speakers have joined the call for the termination of Executive Order 128, which increases the minimum access volume and decreases the tariff on imported pork products.
Deputy Speakers Bro. Eddie Villanueva (CIBAC party-List) and Bienvenido Abante Jr. (Manila) jointly filed House Joint Resolution 38.
“The lowering of pork imports tariff in this period of pandemic and when our local hog industry is in “critical” if not dying condition due to African swine fever is not only shocking but at the same time unbelievable! It is surely never the most apt policy to enforce, it is devoid of any serious concern for our local pork producers,” Villanueva said,
Abante laments that the Department of Agriculture’s “default response is importation.”
“I believe they need to rethink and reconsider this approach. The solution is support, not import––more support the local hog industry so they can recover faster from their losses as a result of ASF,” Abanate said.
EO 128 lowers the tariff rates on pork imports from 30% to 5% on pork imported under the in quota imported pork products, and from 40% to 15% for out-of-quota imported pork.
The EO seeks to flood the local market with supply to lower its prices.
But Villanueva is not convinced and said that the EO will just “serve as a window for further corruption and will cost the government around P3.6 billion foregone revenues that should go to fund the ASF-infested local hog industry, as well as government response efforts against the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.”
Villanueva said the government should instead “place, adopt, implement and pursue a more sensible, data-based and reasonable policy and provide solutions that will strike balance in serving and protecting both the interests of public as well as the welfare of the local hog industry.”