Differing price estimates of DA, BoC on pork imports spell P26B: Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines — The difference of $1.35 per kilo on the projected price of imported pork from two government agencies could easily cost the country P26 billion, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.
Pangilinan arrived at his own computation based on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) estimated $3 per kilo price of pork and the Bureau of Customs’ (BoC) estimate of $1.65.
“The DA says it’s $3 a kilo, while the BoC says it’s $1.65. Pag ganyang usapan, sino po ang paniniwalaan natin? Ang DA o ang BoC? Parehong gobyerno. Obviously mataas ng over 40 percent itong sa DA kumpara sa BoC,” Pangilinan said.
(The DA says it’s $3 a kilo, while the BoC says it’s $1.65. Who are we going to believe, the DA or the BoC? Obviously, the DA’s estimate is over 40 percent higher than that of BoC.)
“At 404.2 million kilos, that price difference is equivalent to over $544 million, or over P26 billion, calculating at 48 pesos to the dollar,” he added.
Pangilinan was referring to the proposed minimum access volume (MAV) of 404,210 metric tons of imported pork this year, which was raised during the hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture.
The proposal to raise the MAV at a lower tariff was meant to address the projected deficit in pork supply in the country due to the African swine fever (ASF).
If the DA’s projected $3 price per kilo would be followed, Pangilinan said a MAV of 404,210 metric tons will cost the country over P58 billion while BoC’s projected $1.65 price would cost P32 billion.
“The signal government is giving in computing it at higher import costs is a signal to the private sector exporters that it can sell at a higher price. Pag mataas ang computation ng gobyerno, senyales ito sa lahat. Tataas talaga ang presyo,” said Pangilinan, who was presidential adviser on food security of former President Benigno Aquino.
Aside from the conflicting figures on the price of pork, Pangilinan also reiterated the need to reconcile DA figures on the real ASF effects in the country, noting the private sector’s reported four million hogs lost compared to DA’s 400,000 hogs.
The senator has likewise called for more immediate assistance for hog raisers in the form of insurance and cash aid as they grapple with ASF.
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