Around P13.95 billion in revenues will be lost if the Department of Agriculture (DA) will push through with the proposed reduction of tariffs and increasing the minimum access volume (MAV) allocation on pork imports, a party-list representing the agriculture sector revealed.
In a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, AGAP party-list is asking the Senate to support in the investigation into the issue of the pork imports.
"May we humbly seek your support in the investigation on why the Department of Agriculture is willing to give away P13.95 billion to the importers instead of using the tariffs collected to help our embattled hog raisers," the party-list said.
The MAV advisory council had endorsed to the DA to increase the MAV by 350,000 metric tons, from the current 54,210 metric tons to 404,210 metric tons to address the shortage of pork supply.
A reduction of tariff for pork imports under the MAV scheme from 40% and 30% to 5% this year was also proposed.
While they are not against importation, AGAP party-list Representative Rico Geron and president Nicanor Briones said the increased MAV allocation "will surely cause oversupply not only in Luzon, but in Visayas and Mindanao as well, where there is ample supply of pork."
The P13.95 billion loss in revenue due to the reduction of tariff rates, they added, is "unnecessary and unacceptable."
"The current tariff rates already provide sufficient profits for importers to import. There is no need to incentivize them further," they said.
The party-list used the following computation in coming up with the P13.95 loss in revenue:
The P13.95 billion revenue that could be lost in the reduction of tariff rates can be used to indemnify raisers whose hogs are affected by African swine fever (ASF), the party-list said.
"We recommend to allocate P8.5 billion (10% of 8.5 million hogs at P10,000 per head) to finance the P10,000 per head per infected hogs as indemnification payment to backyard and commercial raisers," it said.
"This would prompt farmers to declare if there is an outbreak, allowing the government to take necessary steps to curb the spread of ASF. By doing so, hog raisers will surely be able to take the risk and will expand and re-populate, addressing the pork meat shortage and stabilizing prices," he added.
The party-list also called on the Senate to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a nationwide state of calamity in light of the ASF problem to allow the release of funds to address the issue.
The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution for such purpose and to express its opposition to the proposed reduction of the tariff rates and the increase in MAV allocation of imported pork products.
Sotto told reporters that the party-list's request to the Senate to look into the issue only shows its gravity.
"Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!" he said.
Duterte earlier issued an executive order imposing a price cap on pork products as requested by the DA due to soaring pork prices caused by the ASF problem and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the executive order, the price cap for kasim and pigue was set at P270 per kilo, P300 for liempo, and P160 for dressed chicken per kilo. The price cap will last for 60 days.
This led to several market vendors going on "pork holiday” due to the fear of going bankrupt amid the price caps.—AOL, GMA News