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Hog raisers seek dialogue with Malacañang
In a statement over the weekend, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Duterte might rescind Executive Order 128 which reduces tariff on pork imports if he hears the current situation besetting the swine industry.
AFP/File

Hog raisers seek dialogue with Malacañang

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - April 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A senator is urging President Duterte to hear the pleas of local hog raisers by holding dialogues with leaders of concerned groups to be able to come up with the right solutions for the industry which continues to be hit by African swine fever (ASF).

In a statement over the weekend, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said Duterte might rescind Executive Order 128 which reduces tariff on pork imports if he hears the current situation besetting the swine industry.

“We believe the President is not deaf and blind to the woes of our local hog raisers. If he talks to them, he would see the reality on the ground,” Pangilinan said.

He said advocates of local hog-raisers had written Malacañang at least twice seeking an audience with the President.

“Local hog raisers are willing to cooperate, but they need government to listen to their proposed way out of this quandary,” Pangilinan said.

Signed on April 7, EO 128 approves the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to adjust the most favored nation (MFN) tariff rates for both in-quota and out-quota imports for pork over a one-year period.

For in-quota or those within the minimum access volume (MAV), a five percent tariff will be imposed for the first three months and will be increased to 10 percent from the fourth to 12th month.

At present, imports under MAV are slapped with a 30 percent tariff.

For those outside MAV, a 15 percent tariff will be imposed for the first three months and will be raised to 20 percent from the fourth to 12th month.

Days before the EO was signed, various agriculture associations banded together to appeal to Duterte to reject the DA’s plan to increase the MAV and reduce tariffs on pork, saying such measures will negatively impact the industry.

“Neither of these proposals are necessary, nor are they beneficial to consumers and the local hog industry, Mr. President. Increasing the MAV to 400 million kilos of pork is equivalent to eight million pig heads, and is way above the current inventory of our backyard hog raisers at 6.9 million heads,” agriculture groups said in a letter to President Duterte.

“This action will not make pork more affordable for our countrymen, and it further cripples a hog industry that is already suffering from the DA’s mismanagement of the ASF outbreak,” they said.

The agriculture groups include the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., Agriculture Sector Alliance of the Philippines, ABONO Party List. National Federation of Hog Farmers United Broiler Raisers Association, Philippine Maize Federation Inc., Philippine Veterinary Medical Association, Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative, Philippine Egg Board Association, Philippine Veterinary Drug Association and Philippine Association of Feed Millers.

Last week, Malacanang said President Duterte was ready to listen to senators who were opposing the tariff reduction.

The ASF outbreak that started in September 2019 has already cost the Philippine hog industry at least P58 billion and has limited supply of fresh pork in the market causing a spike in prices.

Pangilinan also lamented that after over a month since he called for the declaration of a state of calamity to properly address the situation, the government’s economic cluster has yet to issue its position on the matter.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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