Senate told P16B meat smuggled into PHPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAGUPAN CITY—Hog raisers in the country have urged the Senate committee on agriculture and food to investigate the rampant smuggling of meat into the country to prosecute the people behind the illegal activity that has been hurting the local meat industry.
In a position paper submitted to the Senate, Swine Development Council director Rosendo So said some P16-billion worth of pork was smuggled into the country last year, depriving the government billions of pesos in revenues.
Citing records of United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), So said out of 164,122,423 kilograms of pork exported by other countries into the Philippines in 2011, only 54,174,139 kg were officially recorded entering the country.
The disparity means the government was deprived of revenues from 109,948,284 kg of pork, worth more than P16.49 billion (at P150 a kg), that entered the country last year but which was not reflected in the official records of the Department of Agriculture, said So, also chair of the party-list group Abono.
He said 73,743,411 kg of pork that did not appear in DA’s records had been declared as offal (low-grade animal and meat parts, like innards) which the importers should have priced at $2.7 (P116) a kg.
He said some importers declared it at a price of $0.5 (P21.50) a kg.
“Instead of paying a tariff of 40 percent or P46.6 a kg, unscrupulous traders and importers only pay a tariff of 5 to 10 percent or P21.50 a kg, which is clearly a case of technical smuggling,” he said.
He said the hog industry stakeholders are supporting President Aquino’s campaign against smuggling of pork and other agricultural products as part of the government’s effort to protect the interest of local farmers.
“However, we strongly appeal to the President to also go after corrupt government officials, customs and agriculture personnel who are coddling these economic saboteurs and allowing this smuggling—technical or outright—to thrive and flourish to the detriment of local farmers,” So said. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon