Sotto links reduced tax, increased pork imports to 2022 polls
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Friday linked the lowering of tariffs and the proposed raising of minimum access volume (MAV) for imported pork products to the upcoming 2022 elections.
Sotto noted that there has been an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak since 2018 and this should not be used an excuse to reduce the tariff rates and raise the MAV for pork imports.
“Pero nakapagtataka, 2018 pa yun, di ba? Bakit ngayon, kung kailan mag eeleksiyon, biglang kailangan itaas yung minimum access volume na napakataas, at ibababa ang taripa, ang tax?” Sotto said in a radio interview with dzBB.
(What’s mind-boggling is the [ASF outbreak] has been there since 2018, right? Why would they, when there’s going to be an election, suddenly want to raise the minimum access volume then lower the tariffs, the tax?)
Asked why he was linking the reduced import tariffs and raising import volumes to the upcoming elections, the Senate leader said: “Aba’y may gustong kumita eh. Hindi ba obvious?”
If there is indeed shortage of pork in Luzon, Sotto questioned why the country had to look farther for imported pork when there is “over supply” in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
“May oversupply, kaya nga tinatanong ko ano ba ang mas mahal, mag import ng pork galing ng Belgium papuntang Pilipinas, o mag import ng pork galing ng Mindanao at saka Visayas papuntang Luzon?” the senator said.
(There’s oversupply that’s why I’m asking which is more expensive — to import from Belgium, or import pork from Mindanao and Visayas)
Sotto could not help but questioned the timing of raising the government’s move.
“Siguro, itong mga importer na mga nasa likod nito, eh gustong kumita ng biglaan, eh baka kakailanganin nila pag dating ng election,” he further said.
(Maybe these importers behind this want to earn from this because they would probably need it for the upcoming elections)
The Senate Committee of the Whole has already adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to recall his order lowering the tariffs on pork imports as well as his proposal to raise the MAV by 350,000 metric tons from the current 54,000 MT.
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