President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the Senate to reconsider his order on reducing tariff rates on imported pork products, Malacañang said yesterday.
Duterte stood firm on his decision to keep Executive Order (EO) 128 that temporarily modifies the rates on import duty on fresh, chilled, or frozen meat of swine for one year.
“President Rodrigo Duterte is asking the esteemed members of the Senate to give Executive Order No. 128 a chance and consider its intended effects,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque maintained that the issuance of EO 128 aims to address the shortage in pork supply, stabilize the price of pork products, and minimize the inflation rate.
Duterte, he said, appealed to the senators to wait for at least two months to see the impact of EO 128 in the local hog industry.
“Let us revisit the EO in two months to assess whether the aforesaid intended effects have been realized or met,” he said.
Roque added that the executive branch shares the same sentiment with the senators as it also seeks the recovery of the swine industry distressed due to the African swine fever.
“We are one with the Senate in ensuring the recovery of the local swine industry and the attainment of sufficient domestic pork production,” he said.
Duterte decided to back the proposal of his economic team and the Department of Agriculture to continue the implementation of EO 128 until the country’s domestic pork supply increases.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the upper chamber is willing to negotiate with Duterte to recall his order on cutting pork tariffs.
Zubiri’s statement came after the Senate Committee of the Whole on April 15 adopted a resolution asking Duterte to revoke EO 128.
Under EO 128 signed by Duterte on April 7, tariffs on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) were reduced from the current rate of 30 percent to 5 percent for the first three months upon the effectivity of the order and 10 percent for the next nine months.
Pork imports outside MAV were also reduced with a lower tariff of 15 percent for the first three months and 20 percent for the succeeding nine months from the current rate of 40 percent, based on the EO.
DA Secretary William Dar said EO 128 was necessary to address the low supply of pork due to ASF and the spike in its prices.
It will stay in effect until the domestic swine industry fully recovers and attain sufficient local pork production, he added.
The DA’s national livestock program directorate projected that the country would have a supply deficit of 388,563 metric tons (MT) of pork, based on a supply estimate of 1,229,702 MT against a total demand of 1,618,355 MT this year.*PNA