Senator Bong Go on Monday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing Executive Order 123 modifying the rates of import duty on certain agricultural products under section 1611 of the Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
He said the EO will further maintain the reduced tariff rates on mechanically deboned meat (MDM) of chicken and turkey until next year as a way to help curb hunger and prevent prices of said products from going up amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is most welcome and I support it. This will have a huge impact on keeping prices low by keeping the tariffs low and preventing any inflationary effect,” Go said.
“Malaki ang maitutulong nito sa taumbayan, lalo na sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan sa gitna ng krisis na ating hinaharap,” he said.
“Maraming nawalan ng trabaho at kabuhayan. Maraming industriya ang nangangailangan ng tulong para makabangon. Gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para pagaanin ang pinapasan ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.
Duterte, in 2017, temporarily reduced the tariff rates on the products from 30-40 percent to 5 percent via Executive Order 23 (s. 2017) as a concession to trading partners for letting the country extend the quota on rice imports to protect Filipino farmers.
Under the earlier EO 23, the tariff rates will revert to their original Most Favored Nation (MFN) rates on July 1, 2020, or until such time that a law amending provisions on rice tariffication in Republic Act No. 8178 takes effect, whichever comes first.
Due to the signing of Republic Act No. 11203 in February 2020 which lifts rice import quotas and imposing tariffs, the reduced tariff rates reverted to their original MFN rates.
Go said that government must prioritize three important aspects towards recovery: address hunger; acquire sufficient, safe and effective vaccines for all Filipinos with utmost priority to poor and vulnerable sectors as well as frontliners; and provide more economic opportunities through jobs and other forms of livelihood.
“Ipaglalaban po natin ang tatlong importanteng mga adhikain na ito sa loob at labas ng Senado — ang pagsugpo sa gutom; ang pagkakaroon ng sapat, ligtas, at epektibong bakuna; at ang pagpapalakas ng ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.
“Tulad nga ng sabi ng Pangulo, no one should be left behind towards recovery,” he added.