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With Prices Still High, Senator Urges Gov't to Restore Pork Tariffs

To help local hog raisers.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Sen. Francis Pangilinan is urging the government to restore tariff rates on pork products to its original levels to help hog-raisers recover from the impact of African swine fever.

Pangilinan made the call as prices of pork products remain high despite lowering tariffs on imports as a way to address pork supply shortage in the market.

"Tatlong buwan na nang ibinaba ang taripa sa baboy, pero mataas pa rin ang presyo ng baboy sa palengke. At hirap pa rin ang mga Pilipinong magbababoy," Pangilinan, who initiated the Senate probe on rising food prices, said on Sunday.

"Sa pagbukas ulit ng Kongreso, ibabalik ko ang panukalang itaas ulit sa original rate ang taripa para sa mga imported na baboy," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte in April issued Executive Order 128 reducing the tariff rate on pork products to a 5% to 10% range if within the minimum access volume or MAV and to a 15% to 20% range if outside the MAV. The previous rates were at 30% to 40%.

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Executive Order 133 was issued a month later modifying the tariff rates to 10% to 15% if within MAV and 20% to 25% if outside the MAV as a result of a compromise between economic managers and senators who raised the concerns of local hog raisers.

Despite this, the Department of Agriculture's price monitoring showed that as of July 9, the prevailing price of kasim or tenderloin was at P340 per kilo, while liempo or belly was at P380 per kilo. Prices of pork products previously hit as high as P400.

Pangilinan said the prevailing pork prices were still high. The foregone revenues from lower tariffs, which could reach P11.2 billion this year, could be used to assist hog farmers hit by African swine fever, he added.

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"Pwedeng ipagmalaki ng DA na maraming imported pork sa mga supermarket. Pero sino ang kayang bumili? Sino ang bumibili? Ang tanong -- gumana ba ang polisiya para sa mga Pilipinong mamimili at sa Pilipinong magbababoy?" he added.

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Duterte in May declared a nationwide state of calamity due to the African Swine Fever outbreak. The declaration would allow affected local government units to tap into their quick response funds to control the spread of the disease.

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