Palace assures probe vs DA’s alleged ‘tongpats’ scheme on pork imports
MANILA, Philippines — While Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar continues to enjoy President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust, Malacañang said the chief executive will surely have the alleged “tongpats” scheme in pork importation within the DA investigated.
“Tignan po natin kung may katotohanan yan. I’m sure since nilabas po yan e paiimbestigahan po yan ng ating Presidente,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday when sought to comment on the alleged scheme.
(We will see if there is any truth to this. I’m sure, since this has been revealed, the President will have it investigated.)
It was Senator Panfilo Lacson who bared the racket with the DA where kickbacks can reach up to P6 billion if the proposal to lower the tariffs and increase import allocation on such products is approved by the President.
Amid these allegations, Roque assured that the President will study the said DA proposal to increase the volume of pork imports under the minimum access volume (MAV).
Dar and his agency are earning criticisms from some senators over the so-called “tongpats” scheme. Senate President Vicente Sotto III went as far as saying that Dar has no business in being the DA chief if he is unaware of the issue.
Despite this, Roque said the President still trusts Dar.
“May tiwala pa rin po ang ating Presidente kay Secretary Dar. Lahat po ng mga members ng Cabinet, we continue to work or remain in our duties for as long as the President has full trust and confidence with us. Ganun po ngayon ang sitwasyon kay Secretary Dar,” Roque said.
(The President still trusts Secretary Dar. All Cabinet members continue to work or remain in our duties for as long as the President has full trust and confidence with us. That’s the situation with Secretary Dar.)
The Senate has adopted a resolution opposing the DA proposal to lower tariffs on pork while increasing the import allocation on such products. It also urged Duterte to declare a state of national calamity due to the African swine fever’s impact on the hog industry.
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