The chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food is seeking a congressional inquiry into the Board of Investment’s (BOI) grant of a six-year tax holiday to a Thai food company, a concession that the senator said could result in losses to the local livestock industry.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed Senate Resolution No. 933 that also seeks to look into the 30-percent incentive for the importation of corn and other raw feed that BOI gave to Charoen Pokphand (CP) supposedly as an “industry pioneer.”
“It is a recognized principle of the State that there are appropriate roles for local and foreign capital to play in the development of the Philippine economy and that is the responsibility of government to define these roles and provide the climate for their entry and growth,” Pangilinan said in his resolution.
“The BOI grant (of tax perks) to the Thai-owned Charoen Pokphand has a great impact on the Philippine livestock industry considering that a foreign firm is enjoying the benefits from the Philippine government. Such substantial benefits are not being granted to the Philippine livestock industry,” he added.
Pangilinan said even Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has expressed his concerns over the BOI’s grant of “pioneer” status to the Thai firm.
He said the BOI didn’t consult Alcala in granting pioneer status to the Thai company, adding that the agency only considered the firm’s required minimum capitalization of $200 million.
In an earlier statement, Abono party-list chair and Swine Development Council director Rosendo So warned that backyard hog and poultry growers and local feed producers will be among the first casualties of the tax incentives extended by the BOI to the Thai food firm.
“With BOI’s approval of CP investment in the area of agri-business, the antidumping law has effectively become useless. It allowed CP to effectively dominate the market, to the prejudice of the local hog and poultry industry,” So said.
Republic Act No. 8752, or the Anti-Dumping Act of 1999, provides protection to a domestic industry which is being injured, or is likely to be injured by the dumping of products imported into or sold in the country.
So called on President Aquino to immediately revoke the pioneering status granted to CP.
“If President Aquino truly serves the interest of the local farmers and growers, in particular, and the country’s food security, in general, it is within his power to immediately rescind the decision of the BOI to grant tax perks to CP,” So said in his previous statement.
“There are already existing domestic hog and poultry growers and there is no shortage of supply. We can’t understand why incentives were given to a foreign company when the government should be helping Filipino players instead,” So added.