Drilon says several senators eye resolution revoking tariff cut on pork imports

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2021 06:10 PM

Drilon says several senators eye resolution revoking tariff cut on pork imports 1
Pork vendors sell frozen stock at Kalentong Market in Mandaluyong City on February 9, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said he and 2 other senators would file a joint resolution to invalidate President Rodrigo Duterte's order to impose lower tariffs on imported pork in the next 12 months.

Under Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, "the authority of the President to fix tariff rates while Congress is not in session can be withdrawn or revoked by virtue of a joint resolution," Drilon said in a statement.

"EO 128 will kill the local hog industry, not the African Swine Fever or ASF," he said.

"The irrational and drastic decision to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) serves as a final ‘nail in the coffin’ of the local hog industry," he said.

The executive order 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 to the Philippines.

The order was signed as the national government sought to curb rising pork prices and inflation due to the African Swine Fever, which hit several local hog raisers.

Drilon earlier questioned the timing of the submission of the President’s proposal to Congress, noting that it was given on the last day before the legislative branch was scheduled to go on a month-long session break.

"The power to revise, modify or adjust the MAV is a legislative function," Drilon said.
 
The proposal should have been submitted while Congress was in session to allow the chamber to "determine the necessary adjustments," he said.

"The President could have asked Congress for a special session to discuss the proposal," he said.

Senate Committee on Agriculture chair Sen. Cynthia Villar and Sen. Francis Pangilinan agreed to back the resolution, Drilon's statement read.

The Philippines is set to lose some P3.6 billion in potential revenue should the national government proceed with reducing tariffs on imported pork, Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said.

The Philippines earns some P6.1 billion annually from tariffs on imported pork, but this would be reduced to P2.5 billion due to the reduced tariffs, he said.

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