30M kilos of pork feared smuggled into PH in 2020 | Inquirer News
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30M kilos of pork feared smuggled into PH in 2020

/ 08:23 PM April 14, 2021

FILE Meat vendors cut up meat in a Bulacan market. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE

MANILA, Philippines — There could be at least 30 million kilos of pork smuggled into the country last year, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Wednesday, citing supposed discrepancies in the data of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

Pangilinan said figures from the BOC showed that a total of over 225 million kilos of pork with a value of over P16 billion was imported in 2020.

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But the BAI, which conducts the meat inspection, reported pork imports at over 256 million kilos, according to the senator.

“Bakit magkaiba ang data ng Customs at ng BAI? Bakit mas mababa ang sa Customs? Nasaan napunta ang mga 30 million kilos ng imported na baboy? Yan kaya ang dami ng imported na baboy na nakalusot sa Customs ng walang tax?” Pangilinan said in a statement.

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(Why are the data of the Customs and BAI different? Why are Customs’ figures lower? Where did the roughly 30 million kilos of imported pork go? Could this be the amount of imported pork that passed through Customs without tax?)

“Kailangang ipaliwanag ‘yan dahil bilyong piso na ang nawala sa mga Pilipinong magbababoy dahil sa ASF (African swine fever), bilyon pa ang nawala sa tax na pwede sanang gamitin para makatulong sa kanila maka-recover,” he added.

(This discrepancy should be explained because Filipino hog growers have already lost billions of pesos to ASF, and now billions of pesos of taxes that could be used to help them recover are lost too.)

Pangilinan advised the BOC to “keep a tighter watch” over possible misdeclaration or misclassification of pork shipments as smugglers who are “in cahoots with Custom officials” try to dodge paying the proper tariffs.

“Kriminal at kasuklam-suklam ang gagawa ng ganito lalo na sa panahong hirap na hirap na ang mga Pilipino dahil sa mataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin at walang trabaho at mababa ang kita,” he said.

(This is criminal and unconscionable especially in these times when Filipinos are barely making a living due to high prices of goods, loss of jobs, and lower incomes.)

Pangilinan questioned differences in the figures from the BOC and the BAI a day after the Senate opened its investigation into the food security crisis brought about by the ASF outbreak.

The inquiry, which is set to resume Thursday, also covers the alleged “tongpats” scheme in pork importation as well as technical smuggling of poultry and pork products.

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TAGS: Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Customs, pork importation, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Smuggling
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