Press Release
March 10, 2021

Senate Session

Sen. Grace Poe: I'd like to thank the gentleman from Pampanga for his privilege speech on this very important matter. A lot of our countrymen are affected—not just the hog raisers but the consumers themselves. I would just like to ask, although it wasn't part of the privilege speech perhaps the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture or the gentleman from Pampanga can answer. Was there anything discussed during the hearing... on actually lowering taxes for imported pork products which our local industry is opposing?

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan: Yes. In fact, we spent probably one hour of the hearing comparing the computations of the DA, and the local hog industry, and even the Malacañang because the figures and the amounts, were sort of conflicting. Sabi ng DA ang kailangang i-import 400 million kilos. Sabi ng Malacañang, if I'm not mistaken, ang shortfall is around 84,000 million metric tons instead of 400,000 metric tons so nagko-conflict. And then 'yung computation, 'yung landed cost at computation ng kikitain kapag ibinaba ang taripa from 40 percent to 5 percent. If I'm not mistaken, the initial computation was at 40 percent, kikitain ng mga importer ay mga P8 billion. And then at 5 percent, it would be something like P18 billion or P20 billion ang profits. In other words, ang landed cost ay ganitong halaga, may mark-up na ganitong porsiyento, kikita pa rin. So ang punto natin bakit natin ibaba ang taripa kung sa existing na taripa ay may kita na. Perhaps, ibaba siguro ng maybe 10 from 40 to 30 percent pero huwag namang 5 percent. Dahil ang laki nung bagsak. And an estimate, based on their recommendation an estimate loss of around P11 billion if we reduce the tariffs as proposed.

Poe: So Mr. President, anong napagkasunduan, babaan pa ba ang taripa? Kasi parang sobra naman...

Sen. Cynthia Villar: 'Yung Department of Agriculture is not giving up their recommendation of bringing down the tariff and increasing the MAV. I guess the only I know would be for the industry and Senate committee to write to the President showing our figures so that they will not follow the recommendation, the President will not follow the recommendation of the DA. Parang mahirap kumbinsihin itong DA. I'm not sure if we have convinced them to change their mind. But I told them that we will try our best to write to the President, so that they will not bring down the tariff and they we will not increase the MAV. But in case I promise them that this year I will write a bill like the one we did for price competitiveness enhancement fund, will do a bill for the swine industry. Actually, livestock poultry and dairy industry. So the profits of their tariffs can go to them in terms of things that they needed. Like for example, protection from diseases and ang pinakamalaki nilang demand is to establish 'yung centers sa mga port of entry para to prevent entry of diseases of these animals, imported meat. And then of course, ang ating gagawin sa local, prevention of diseases, pambili ng drugs, and of course, re-population, at pagtatayo ng swine farms para mag-produce ng marami. Kasi minsan gusto nating marami, mag-repopulate pero wala tayong animals. Then of course the other things that they need an education or so that our farmers will learn how to take care of themselves and many others. We're going to write a bill we promised them and we promised them we will try to pass it before the year kasi ang Senate hanggang December na lang tayo kasi by January everybody will be campaigning. We will try to write the bill, we will also write the President kasi it's not our decision, it's the decision of the President to issue that executive order.

Poe: Mr. President, that's usually the problem with us in the legislative branch. We want to do so much but the implementation is really not with us. On the other hand, one of the hog raisers wrote us and said that most of them would probably earn about P30 per kilo only, while importers can earn an average of P128 for kilo. Samantalang ang mga hog raisers, six months buntis ang baboy, six months nila palalakihin bago nila mabenta tapos P30 per kilo lang ang kanilang kikitain, so talagang lugi. So now with the proposal of giving them, allowing them to have access to loans, and there was one proposal that actually said sinong hihiram niyan kung may risk pa ng disease. So is there a program in the loan of the government for these hog raisers that in the event that their hogs will die because of a pandemic, they won't have to repay their loans?

Villar: It's an insurance. We will establish an insurance system wherein if you lose your hog, then you will be paid by Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. So ang suggestion, they will give free insurance to the backyard farmers. And then maybe subsidize for the commercial farmer, hog farmers. Ang problema ngayon how do you define backyard farmers, that's the issue yesterday. So we have to define or how do you define backyard kasi 'yun ang bibigyan ng free insurance.

Pangilinan: The other proposal that was presented in the hearing yesterday was to set aside an indemnification fund for actual losses. So one is insurance and the other is indemnification for the losses. So if we have this resolution passed and we adopt this, then hopefully the Department of Agriculture will heed our resolution and come up together with Malacañang an executive order, and in that executive order included would be a section on indemnification of losses.

Poe: Yes. I appreciate the responses of the gentleman from Pampanga and also the chairperson of the Committee of Agriculture. Perhaps, if the chairperson and the committee can draft a letter in support of our hog raisers and especially with their questions on the tariffs, I would like to be one of the signatories. Thank you, Mr. President.

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