Press Release
April 19, 2021

Who pushed for pork imports? — Sotto

SENATE President Vicente Sotto III today pressed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to identify the brains behind government's move to allow pork imports to flood the local swine industry.

Sotto said Agriculture Secretary William Dar should name during the next hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole the person or group who pushed for the signing of the executive order that increased the minimum access volume (MAV) and lowered the tariffs on imported pork products.

"I want to know whose bright idea it was to hike the import ceiling and lower import taxes on pork. Sino nag-suggest nito from the DA? Bakit gusto nilang mag-import tayo beyond what is required and at the same time babaan ang tariff? Anong logical explanation dito?" Sotto asked.

The Senate President complained the EO is contrary to President Duterte's guarantee that the prices of pork and other food products will remain accessible to the people, especially now that the country's economic standing is weak and amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

"I believe that the President intended the EO to assure our people that government is in control and that the welfare of our hog raisers, fishermen and farmers will always be the priority. This EO is supposed to be in line with the intentions of the President, but the end product is not. He would not have signed this if he knew that his order will have a negative impact on the hog and agriculture industries. He would not have signed this if no one lobbied for it," Sotto said.

"Kung hindi man DA ang nagtulak nitong executive order na ito, then who pushed for it? Gusto kong sagutin nila ang aking tanong: Ang EO ba na ito ay para sa ikauunlad ng Pilipinas? Ito ba ay makakatulong sa mga Pilipino o sa iilan lamang na mga negosyante at politiko?" Sotto said.

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