EO 128 to be amended as ‘compromise reached’ on pork import policies — Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the government’s economic managers have reached a compromise on policies concerning pork importation following a “seesaw” of discussions.
“[Compromise] reached!” Senate President Vicente Sotto III told reporters in a Viber message on Wednesday.
Sotto said senators and the Department of Finance had to “strike a balance” between reducing the inflation rate and ensuring new pork import policies will not kill the domestic swine industry.
“We had to strike a balance between accepting a formula in the reduction of inflation and the protection of the local swine industry,” he said.
He did not disclose further details on the matter, saying he will defer the announcement on the agreed upon figures to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“I’ll let Sec. Dominguez announce the figures we accepted after a seesaw of discussion on both MAV (minimum access volume) and tariff,” the Senate leader said.
According to Sotto, President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 128 temporarily cutting pork import tariffs “will be amended.”
This comes after the Senate conducted three Committee of the Whole hearings on the food security crisis due to the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.
The chamber also tackled the basis behind the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) the President to lower tariffs on imported pork as stated in the EO and to increase the MAV for such products.
It was on April 7 when the President signed the executive order, which temporarily lowers tariff rates on fresh, chilled, or frozen pork meat “to address the existing pork supply shortage, stabilize prices of pork meat, and minimize inflation rates.”
In addition to this, the President also endorsed to Congress the DA recommendation to increase the MAV for pork imports by 350,000 metric tons (MT) on top of the current 54,210 MT.
Senators have earlier urged the President, through a resolution, to withdraw the said policies on pork importation.
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