MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday sought the support of voters from agricultural towns in Batangas, vowing to limit the importation of meat in the country should he bag the presidency next year.
"Hihigpitan po natin ang pagpasok ng baboy at manok sa Pilipinas. Producer naman tayo. The entire Luzon is producing meat," he said in a press conference during the ONE Batangas convention in Lipa.
(We will make the importation of pork and poulty in the Philippines stricter. We are producers anyway. The entire Luzon is producing meat.)
"Filipino farmers first... We should prioritize the food products of our own farmers and breeders of hog and chicken. If there is a need to augment our supply, then that’s the time we can import during the latter part of the year," he said.
Batangas is the Philippines' top hog producer in 2020, producing about 161,000 metric tons of hogs in a year, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Thousands of hog raisers in the country decried President Rodrigo Duterte's decision earlier this year to cut tariffs and increase the volume of imported pork.
Duterte's Executive Order No. 128 reduces tariff on imported pork to 5-10 percent from 20-30 percent in the first 3 months of its enforcement, and to 10 percent in the 4th to 12th month.
The order also increases to 350,000 metric tons from 54,000 metric tons the total volume of pork that may be imported.
Duterte issued the order to address a spike in pork price after the local hog industry suffered from the African swine fever outbreak, which has killed millions of pigs nationwide since 2019.
But hog raisers and lawmakers said that the policy would further cripple the local hog industry.
"I am not against importation if there really is a need," Domagoso said.
"But if there is no big demand, why do we need to import if we could locally supply our needs, or even import more than what we need?," he said.
Domagoso said his administration would also review current policies surrounding the importation of rice and other agricultural products.
Agriculture is listed as the 8th priority in Domagoso's 10-point platforms for governance, his campaign team said in a statement.