MANILA -- Members of the hog, poultry and feeds millers industries have asked the Supreme Court to nullify the pioneering status and tax breaks granted by the Board of Investment (BOI) to Thai food giant Charoen Pokphand.
In a 54-page petition filed last Thursday before the high court, the group said: "The grant of incentives will cripple the domestic agriculture industry. Charoen’s investment is expected to annihilate the domestic backyard, small and medium growers.”
They also said BOI’s actions will displace more than seven million Filipinos dependent on the agriculture industry in terms of employment and livelihood.
The petitioners, led by Rosendo So of the Abono Party-list, Daniel Javellana of the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc., Agham Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones Jr., Agap Party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones, Rico Geron of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Angelito Bagui of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative, and Napoleon Co of the Association of Philippine Aqua Feeds Millers, said a temporary restraining order (TRO) is needed to stop the BOI from granting the perks.
The resolutions include the granting of a pioneering status to the Thai company, which also provides for a six-year income tax holiday.
The petitioners cited Article XII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides for the promotion of industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development.
"The petitioners’ right to the protection against unfair foreign competition and trade practices is violated by the unlawful issuance of the Board Resolutions,” they said.
They noted that the BOI failed to consult concerned agencies when the incentives were granted, as provided under Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investments Act.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala himself did not agree with the BOI’s actions, they said. “The President himself raised the question of how does one define pioneering status. How can the BOI grant the Thai company pioneering status when we have been raising hogs and chickens for so long?" Alcala asked.
So also said the BOI should have considered the P300-billion domestic meat industry that would be adversely affected by the tax breaks.
"The domestic industry is a P300-billion industry. If you compare that to CP's P2-billion investment, that is small. For so many years, the livestock industry has not enjoyed substantial benefits from the government, and now the BOI is killing us for such a paltry sum that would benefit a foreign company," So said.
"The more important issue is this: we are leaving our food security in the hands of a foreign firm. This runs counter to the policy of the Department of Agriculture of self-sufficiency for the agriculture sector," So added.