DOF: Temporary reduction of pork import tariffs ‘immediate, practicable’ solution to check inflation

Robie de Guzman   •   April 28, 2021   •   581

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to allow more pork imports at lower tariffs for a temporary period is an “immediate and practicable” response to avoid price spikes, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Tuesday.

During the resumption of the Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry into the food crisis resulting from the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak, Dominguez said the measure was intended to protect Filipino consumers form price spirals that could further drive up inflation and undermine the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DOF chief noted that the spike in meat prices this year has unduly jacked up food inflation, thus “exacerbating the problems of unemployment, hunger and reduced or lost incomes for many Filipinos” that have led people to rely on community pantries for aid.

Dominguez, a former agriculture secretary, said that although the presidential directive appears to be a painful solution as it would lead to a revenue loss of P13.68 billion for the government, this would actually slash pork prices to a level estimated to save Filipino consumers a whopping P67.38 billion.

“The worse we could do in a situation like the one we are facing today is to let supply issues force food prices up even more. If food prices rise, the inflation rate also increases. If the inflation rate rises, interest rate increases will follow. This unhealthy chain of events will make economic recovery even more difficult for all,” the finance chief told senators.

“The short-term and only practicable strategy for the current problem is contained in Executive Order 128,” he added.

EO 128 temporarily cuts the tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) quota to 5 percent, from the current rate of 30 percent, for the first three months upon the effectivity of the presidential directive. The reduced rate will go up to 10 percent for the next nine months thereafter.

It also increases the MAV quota for pork from 54,210 metric tons (MT) to 404,210 MT.

“Again, more than the economics of it, EO 128 is a response to protect our people from shortages and price spikes during this difficult time. We need to do it now for the sake of our countrymen,” Dominguez said.

He also explained that the increase in the MAV quota for pork factors in the estimated supply deficit for 2021 at up to 477,000 MT based on estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“Thus, the temporary increase in pork imports will not ‘kill’ the local hog industry as feared by some quarters, given that imports would potentially account for only up to 22.8 percent of total consumption,” Dominguez said.

The Finance chief also emphasized that the decision to adjust pork import tariffs “was not done haphazardly, but underwent extensive deliberations and consultations among the public and concerned agencies, with all the tradeoffs considered in the cost-benefit analysis.”

“We are not giving up on the domestic pork industry. The interventions of the Department of Agriculture to help the industry are aggressive. They expect them to yield even greater benefits once a permanent solution to the ASF outbreak becomes available,” Dominguez said.

ALAMIN: Mga patakaran para sa isasagawang 3-day national vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Puspusan na ang ginagawang paghahanda ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa Metro Manila para sa tatlong araw na national vaccination days sa darating na Nobyembre 29 hanggang Disyembre 1.

Kabilang sa mga inihahanda ay ang mga patakarang ipatutupad upang masiguro ang maayos na pagbabakuna sa bawat vaccination sites.

 

QUEZON CITY

Sa Quezon City, sinabi ni Mayor Joy Belmonte na 17 vaccination sites ang bubuksan sa lungsod.

Pero mahigpit na paalala sa mga nais magpabakuna, bawal pa rin ang walk-in at kailangan pa ring magpa-schedule sa QC vaccination portal para sa oras at lugar ng pagbabakuna.

“Bawal ang walk-in, bawal talaga at strictly forbidden pa rin ang walk-ins dito sa Quezon City but they can register na sa ating Vax Easy Plus that’s found in our Facebook page as well as in our website. They can book their schedule, the day, the time and the venue,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, target ng lokal na pamahalaan na makapagbakuna ng nasa 50,000 indibidwal.

 

NAVOTAS CITY

Sa Navotas City, kailangan ring magparehistro sa covax.navotas.gov.ph ang mga nais magpabakuna sa 3-day vaccination drive. Ang schedule ay ipapaskil sa Facebook page ng lokal na pamahalaan.

Sa mga kabataang may edad 12 hanggang 17, obligado rin silang magparehistro at mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination sites na nakalaan para sa mga menor de edad

Sa mga magpapabakuna ng Pfizer, kailangan rin munang mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination portal, habang sa mga magpapabakuna naman ng ibang brand, maaari nang mag-walk in sa mga vaccination site na nagbibigay ng brand gaya ng Sinovac, Sinopharm, at AstraZeneca.

Pitong vaccination sites rin ang bubuksan sa Navotas City habang house-to-house naman ang gagawin para sa mga senior citizen.

 

PARAÑAQUE CITY

Samantala, ang mga taga-Parañaque City naman ay pinapayuhang bisitahin ang website ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa schedule at iba pang impormasyon hinggil sa vaccination drive.

Ayon kay Parañaque Public Information Office head Mar Jimenez, nakikipagtulungan rin sila sa mga opisyal ng barangay upang hikayatin ang iba pang residente na magpabakuna na laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang atin pong pamahalaang lungsod ay lubos ang paghahandang ginagawa po ngayon para dun sa sinasabi nating national vaccination day kaya po yung pagkakataon na yan amin pong laging pinananawagan sa tulong ng ating mga butihing kapitan na kumbinsihin ang ating mga kababayan na hindi pa bakunado,” ani Jimenez.

 

Para sa mga nasasakop ng iba pang local government unit, maaaring bisitahin ang opisyal na social media accounts at websites ng kani-kanilang lugar para malaman ang detalye at proseso para sa pagpapabakuna. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Patuloy na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level, kailangan vs bagong COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala ang isang infectious disease expert na dapat magpatuloy ang ipinatutupad na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level upang maagapan ang pagpasok ng panibagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Specialist at Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, nakakabahala ang presensiya ng bagong COVID-19 variant kaya dapat magpatuloy ang genomic surveillance ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine Genome Center at National Institutes of Health upang ma-monitor kung may bagong coronavirus variant na nakapasok sa bansa.

“Sinusubaybayan natin ito bagamat hindi pa siya nagte-take over tulad ng Delta, nakakabahala rin ang mutations na taglay nito,” ani Salvaña.

“Lahat ng ginagawa natin para maprevent ang pagpasok ng bagong varaint, tuloy naman po talaga iyan. For instance yong genomic surveillance […] and the fact na na-detect na ang variant na ito at pinag-uusapan na ng WHO. Iyong UK nga nag- travel ban na sila. It shows na iyong ating global genomic surveillance is working and hopefully we can prevent the spread of any new variants that come up,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang bagong COVID-19 variant na B.1.1.529 ay natuklasan sa bansang South Africa noong Nobyembre 23 mula sa samples na kinuha mula November 14 hanggang 16.

Bagama’t wala pang kumpletong detalye ang sinasabing bagong variant at variant under monitoring pa lang ang klasipikasyon nito sa ngayon, sinabi ng World Health Organization (WHO) na kailangang bantayan ito ng maigi dahil nagtataglay ito ng maraming mutations na maaaring makaapekto sa behavior o bagsik ng virus.

Inaalam rin ang epekto ng variant sa diagnostics, sa bisa ng bakuna at mga gamot na ginagamit sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large of number mutations,” ang pahayag ni Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, ang COVID-19 Technical Lead ng WHO.

“Right now, researchers are getting together to where these mutations are and what that potentially mean for our diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” dagdag pa niya.

May mga kaso na ng ganitong variant na naitala sa ilang bahagi ng South Africa gaya ng Johannesburg, Gauteng at Botswana.

May napaulat na rin sa Hong Kong na isang biyahero mula sa South Africa.

Sa Pilipinas, wala pang iniuulat na kaso ng B1.1.529.

Tiwala naman si Salvaña na agad maaagapan ang pagpasok sa bansa ng nasabing variant dahil sa umiiral na COVID-19 restrictions.

Panawagan rin nito sa publiko na huwag maging kampante sa kabila ng pagbaba ng mga kaso dahil nananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Mga ‘di susunod sa health protocols, pwedeng hindi papasukin sa mga establisimyento – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – May karapatan ang mga publiko at pribadong establisimyento na pagbawalang pumasok ang mga taong hindi susunod sa health protocols gaya ng tamang pagsusuot ng face mask.

Ayon kay acting Presidential spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, binigyan na ng pahintulot ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang mga establisimiyento na huwag papasukin ang sinumang susuway sa patakaran laban sa hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Mayroon pong authority ang mga establishments na doon sa mga di nagsusuot ng face mask o ‘di kayang magsuot ng face mask kabilang na po dito ang mga menor de edad, ay mayroon na po silang authority na di po papasukin sa kanila pong establismyento,” ani Nograles.

Panawagan namang opisyal sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na tiyaking naipatutupad ang minimum health standards sa kani-kanilang mga nasasakupan upang maiwasan ang muling pagtaas ng kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Muli ring umapela ang Palasyo sa mga magulang na huwag dadalhin ang kanilang maliliit na mga anak sa malls at iba pang lugar na close, crowded at maaaring mag-promote ng close-contact activities. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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