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17 solons push for termination of EO reducing pork tariffs

/ 04:24 PM April 14, 2021
LUXURY For the poor and daily wage earners, having pork on their table is considered a luxury due to rising meat prices. At a wet market in Las Piñas City, prime cuts of pork are sold for at least P365 a kilo

LUXURY For the poor and daily wage earners, having pork on their table is considered a luxury due to rising meat prices. At a wet market in Las Piñas City, prime cuts of pork are sold for at least P365 a kilo. — MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — Seventeen lawmakers in the House of Representatives are pushing for the termination of an executive order mandating the temporary reduction of tariffs on pork imports amid the insufficient supply of pork in the country.

The lawmakers filed the House joint resolution to call for the withdrawal of Executive No. 128 which was recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in a bid to resolve the dwindling supply problem and soaring prices due to continuous demand. The lawmakers also called for the rejection of the “staggering expansion” of the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork imports.

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“Tariff reduction on pork imports will automatically foster increased importation of pork products at the expense of local hog raisers and producers, who are seeking much-needed indemnification and assistance amid the damaging impact of the African Swine Fever (ASF) that continues to plague the country since Juy 2019,” the lawmakers said.

“Tariff reduction and increased MAV of pork imports will further decimate the local pork industry as we know it and will also undermine our local production and food security, as what has happened to the rice industry,” they added.

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The lawmakers likewise pointed out that the “impending production stoppage of many producers who cannot cope with the negative effects of the reduced tariff and MAV expansion” will mean more loss of jobs and livelihood.

“It is not an assurance that reduced tariffs and increased importation will stabilize or reduce the current high prices of pork meat products which have become unfairly exorbitant for consumers,” the lawmakers said.

Instead, the lawmakers said, the national government should implement more effective and long-term solutions to strengthen and address the repopulation and rehabilitation of the local pork industry.

“EO 128 would create irreparable damage to the pork industry and to the agricultural sector as a whole. EO 128 runs contrary to the promotion of the general welfare of the people which is a fundamental principle in our Constitution,” the lawmakers said.

“By this reason alone, EO 128 must be withdrawn and terminated immediately,” they added.

The resolution was filed by Reps. Carlos Zarate, Rose Marie Arenas, Jose Christopher Belmonte, Arlene Brosas, Argel Joseph Cabatbat, France Castro, Lorenz Defensor, Sarah Jane Elago, Edgar Erice, Ferdinand Gaite, Janette Garin, Rico Gerona, Jonathan Keith Flores, Edcel Lagman, Geraldine Roman, and Noel Villanueva.

Earlier at the Senate, three senators are also pushing for the passage of a joint resolution of Congress to revoke EO No. 128.

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