Press Release
April 13, 2021

Drilon, Pangilinan, Villar to file joint reso to revoke EO 128, fix tariff and volume of pork imports

An executive order which temporarily reduced the rates of import duty on pork products can be revoked through a joint resolution of Congress, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

Drilon said he, together with Senate Committee on Agriculture chair Sen. Cynthia Villar and Senator Francis Pangilinan, will file a joint resolution to revoke Executive Order 128 and provide for the appropriate tariff and minimum access volume of pork importation.

"By law, the authority of the President to fix tariff rates while Congress is not in session can be withdrawn or revoked by virtue of a joint resolution," Drilon said.

The veteran senator cited Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, which was the basis of EO 128. The law allows the President to increase, reduce or remove existing rates of import duty "while Congress is not in session."

However, Section 1608 (f) of RA 10863 provides that "the power herein delegated to the President may be withdrawn or terminated by Congress through a joint resolution."

EO 128, which was signed by the President while Congress is in recess, reduced the tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) to 5% for the first three (3) months upon the effectivity of the executive order and to 10% for the fourth to twelfth month from the current rate of 30%. Under the EO, pork imports outside MAV were also reduced with a lower tariff of 15% for the first three months and 20% for the succeeding nine months from the current rate of 40%.

"EO 128 will kill the local hog industry, not the African Swine Fever or ASF. The irrational and drastic decision to increase the minimum access volume or MAV serves as a final 'nail in the coffin' of the local hog industry," Drilon said.

"Our local hog raisers suffered a double blow in the last two weeks and it is the duty of Congress to stand up for them. Hindi kaya ng maliliit nating hog raisers ang laban sa mga malalaking importers of meat products," Drilon said.

He reiterated that the drastic decrease in tariffs on pork products could result in billions of pesos in lost government revenue.

He added that DA's move completely disregarded the livelihood of thousands of local hog raisers.

Drilon had earlier questioned the timing of the submission of the President's proposal to Congress to increase the MAV to 350,000 metric tons from 54,000 MT, which was submitted on March 26, the last day of Congress' session.

Section 6 of Republic Act 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act provides that "in case of shortages or abnormal price increases in agricultural products, whose quantitative restrictions are lifted under this Act, the President may propose to Congress, revisions, modifications or adjustments of the Minimum Access Volume (MAV): Provided, however, that in the event Congress fails to act after fifteen (15) days from receipt of the proposal, the same shall be deemed approved."

Drilon maintained that the power to revise, modify or adjust the MAV is a legislative function.

He said that the proposal should have been submitted while Congress was in session in order for Congress to determine the necessary adjustments. He added that the President could have asked Congress for a special session to discuss the proposal.

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