Duterte signs EOs on new pork, rice tariffs
Duterte signed two executive orders that will reduce the MFN tariff rates for rice and pork, the Office of the President said in a dispatch last night.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file

Duterte signs EOs on new pork, rice tariffs

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To ensure food security and protect consumers, President Duterte approved yesterday the recommendations of the National Economic and Development Authority board to temporarily reduce the Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariff rates on imported rice and adjust the rates on imported pork products.

Duterte signed two executive orders that will reduce the MFN tariff rates for rice and pork, the Office of the President said in a dispatch last night.

The President signed Executive Order (EO) 135 that reduced the MFN tariff rates for rice to 35 percent from 40 percent (in-quota) and 50
 percent (out-quota) for a period of one year.

The move aims to “diversify the country’s market sources, augment rice supply, maintain affordable prices and reduce pressures on inflation.”

“The tariff reduction took into consideration the increase in global rice prices and the uncertainties surrounding the steady supply of rice in the country,” the Palace said.
Meanwhile, the President also issued EO 134 to adjust the MFN tariff rates for pork products in response to the plight of concerned sectors and stakeholders, including the local hog industry.

The move came after Duterte also increased the minimum access volume of pork meat by 200,000 metric tons to address the pork shortage caused by African swine fever. This sets MAV for pork to 254,210 metric tons for 2021.

With the issuance of EO No. 134 (s. 2021), the previously reduced tariff rates will be increased to 10 percent (in-quota) and 20 percent (out-quota) for the first three months, and 15 percent (in-quota) and 25 percent (out-quota) from the fourth to the 12th month.

“Given the continuing spread of African swine fever and its adverse effects, the adjusted tariff rates aim to strike a balance between the objective of making pork products available and affordable, and the concerns of all stakeholders, especially the recovery of the local hog industry,” the Office of the President said.

DOFIL certified as urgent

President Duterte has certified as urgent three proposed measures, including the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, the amendment of the 1936 Public Service Act and trade liberalization, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Sotto said he would propose to fellow senators to work overtime – or one more session day per week for the next three weeks – to be able to tackle and pass important measures that would help improve the lives of Filipinos.

“(We would tackle) the DOFIL, the public service act then trade liberalization. The President certified them as urgent. These bills have long been pending… We don’t want to wait for the third regular session of the 18th congress,” Sotto said in an interview over dwIZ.

Sotto said senators need to tackle all these priority bills before June 4, before the upcoming election season.

Sotto said the Senate would likely tackle the 2022 budget by September, as their counterparts in the House of Representatives have started discussing the national expenses for next year.

He noted that Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto filed Senate Bill 1953, almost a mirror of the Bayanihan to rebuild as one.

Sotto added that there is only one or two differences, as he pointed out the inclusion of a questionable P54-billion pension fund for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The version of the Senate is good, it is also good in the House… But why was the AFP pension included in their version?” asked Sotto.

Sotto said the contents of the House version, which includes P216 billion for cash grant, are also good, but their total budget allocation is P405 billion. Cash grants, regardless of age or social status, is P2,000 each.

“There are also provisions for DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) to handle the P10,000 for each household with members infected with the virus. There is P25 billion in DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) for displaced workers. There is P20 billion for wage subsidies, P30 billion in agri fisheries sector; education sector, P5 billion for teachers’ and students’ gadgets and connectivity. Bayanihan 3 is important,” he added.

He said there is also P9 billion for the Department of Health for nutrition programs and P110 billion for procurement of medication for vaccines, hiring of contact tracers and payment of hazard pay. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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