MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on senators to give his executive order lowering tariff rates on pork imports a chance to address issues relating to local pork supply, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is asking the esteemed members of the Senate to give Executive Order No. 128 a chance and consider its intended effects, which include addressing the shortage in swine meat, stabilizing the price of pork meat, and minimizing inflation rate, as mentioned by the Department of Agriculture and the President’s Economic Team,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Duterte made the appeal after the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Executive Order 128, which mandates that the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume (MAV) be reduced to 5 percent during the first three months upon the order’s effectivity, and to 10 percent in during the months four to 12.
For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 15 percent during the first three months upon its effectivity, and 20 percent for the months four to 12.
The order also increases to 350,000 metric tons from 54,000 metric tons of the total volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines.
Duterte signed the order in the first week of April in a bid to address supply shortage, stabilize prices, and minimize the inflation rate due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.
But the senators argued that the policy could potentially spell the demise of the local hog industry and that the reduction of import duty and the increase in MAV will not necessarily translate to lower pork prices.
The lawmakers also insisted that such policies could only result in the loss of billions of government revenue and the flooding of the market with imported pork.
Roque also urged senators to “revisit the EO in two months to assess whether the aforesaid intended effects have been realized/met.”
He assured that Malacañang is one with the Senate in ensuring the recovery of the local swine industry and the attainment of sufficient domestic pork production.
Malacañang earlier said that Duterte will not stop the Congress’ move to revoke the order as it acknowledged that setting tariffs on pork imports is within the authority of the legislative branch.