Press Release
April 15, 2021


Sen. Grace Poe asked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to explain how they arrived at the figures they used to justify the hike in pork tariffs and the increase in the volume of pork imports that will be allowed to enter the country at lower tariffs.

"Sabi ng NEDA, 95 million will benefit from the reduction in tariffs, 95 million out of 110 million. Ibig sabihin ba nila, 15 million lang ang hindi na nakakayanang bumili ng pork? Ang totoo niyan, mas marami pa ang nagdidildil na lang sa asin kasi hindi na nga makabili ng isda--pork pa kaya," Poe said.

Poe is among the co-authors of Senate committee of the whole resolution urging the President to withdraw Executive Order (EO) No. 128 that lowers the tariff on pork imports and recommended the increase in the so-called minimum access volume (MAV) to 350,000 tons from 54,000 tons.

Industry members and experts believe that the reduction in the import duty and the increase in MAV, or the amount of imports subjected to lower tariffs, will not necessarily translate to lower prices.

"Hindi natin alam talaga kung saan nanggagaling itong tariff sa pork... Ewan kung pinag-aaralan talaga nila 'yung datos," Poe said.

The Senate committee of the whole said the DA failed to establish accurate and reliable data on the pork shortage it caused that it used to justify the increase in the MAV.

EO 128 lowers the in-quota tariff on pork, or those that will come in under the MAV, to five percent from 30 percent in the first three months, and lowers the out-quota tariff to 15 percent from 40 percent.

Poe said support for the agriculture sector is imperative and, for the hog industry, protection is urgent.

"This is a growth potential if the private sector already had the capability to fulfill our needs for pork and potentially, to export, if not for the African swine fever," Poe said.

Hog raisers said the P45 million the DA will spend on freezers for the imported pork is better invested in testing equipment to detect disease in imports and help authorities prevent their entry.

The senator will work on providing funds for animal disease detection and the setting up of facilities for research and development so that the country can develop and produce the requirements of the livestock sector in the upcoming budget discussions and will take into account the suggestions of the agriculture sector to direct the funds to the beneficiaries and not to the DA which seems to be hazy about its priorities.

"Tama na ang mga powerpoint presentation na yan," Poe said. "Habang tumatakbo ang panahon, mas lalo tayong naaagrabyado. Ito ngang COVID na ito magiging parang flu na, every year may bagong variant. ASF is only one virus and there will be other viruses in the future. This is something well spent if we can spend it for our own labs," Poe said.

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