Senate eyes compromise with Palace over pork imports, tariffs
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate is seeking a compromise with Malacañang to resolve the pork importation deadlock and avert a looming showdown between the two branches of government over the increase in pork import volumes at lower tariffs, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Saturday.
Sotto said senators would discuss on Monday their response to a counteroffer submitted by the country’s economic managers, supposedly rejecting a proposal to cut by almost half the projected increase in the minimum access volume (MAV), and a tariff rate higher than what is provided for by Executive Order No. 128.
“I am still hoping that we can have a more pleasant discussion on Monday or Tuesday, after we have talked to them [economic managers]. I do not want a confrontation on May 17. If we fail to arrive at a compromise, I cannot prevent any one in the Senate and the House to file on May 17 a joint resolution to revoke the delegated power given to the President,” he said.
The Senate and the executive department are locked in a standoff following the passage of EO 128, which lowered duties on pork imports to 5 percent and raised the import quota or the MAV to 404 million kilos.
As a compromise, the Senate is proposing to Malacañang to increase the MAV to 200 million kilos only, and to lower the tariff to 20 percent, Sotto said.
“We’re proposing to meet halfway and, hopefully, this will already be acceptable to the local hog growers. But they came up with a counteroffer, which is quite distant from what we have proposed,” Sotto said.
“The executive department has agreed to increase the MAV but only up to 254 million kilos, instead of our proposed 200 million (kilos). But for the tariff rates, they have a different opinion,” he said.
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