The Department of Agriculture said yesterday that there will be a “calibrated” arrival of pork imports in the country as the executive order that reduces pork tariffs takes effect.
During a House committee hearing, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Executive Order 128 which reduces the tariff on pork importation is already in effect with import clearances already being issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry.
“We would like to assure that calibrated arrival of said imports will be properly managed and hoping that, yes, our ultimate goal is really that the imports will lower the prices of pork in the market,” Dar said.
Dar said the DA would also study the imposition of price ceiling on imported pork products.
EO 128, issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 7, reduced the tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) to 5 percent for the first three months upon the effectivity of the order and to 10 percent for the next nine months from the current rate of 30 percent.
Under EO 128, pork imports outside MAV were also reduced with a lower tariff of 15 percent for the first three months and 20 percent for the succeeding nine months from the current rate of 40 percent.
To protect local hog raisers from bankruptcy, the Senate Committee of the Whole on April 15 adopted the resolution asking Duterte to revoke EO 128.
House committee on agriculture and food chairman Mark Enverga said his panel will set another hearing for House Joint Resolution 37 revoking EO 128.
In an appeal letter, Enverga, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, and House Committee Trade and Industry Chairman John Reynald Tiangco asked Duterte to reconsider his recommendation increasing the MAV for pork by 350,000 metric tons (MT) while retaining the existing 40 percent tariff.
Enverga said allowing importation beyond the shortage and with a lower tariff will cause oversupply not only in Luzon, but also in the Visayas and Mindanao where there is ample supply of pork.
“The members of the committees on Food and Agriculture and on Trade and Industry are one with the livestock sector in expressing its opposition to the volume being requested by DA, as industry data and data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority only showed a shortage of 150,275 metric tons,” Enverga said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte respects the power of Congress to withdraw or terminate his EO through a joint resolution.*PNA