Duterte will respect Congress’ move to revoke order lowering pork import tariffs — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021   •   404

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not stop the Congress’ move to revoke his Executive Order 128 that temporarily reduces the tariff rates of import port meat, Malacañang said Monday.

“Nakikinig naman ang Presidente. Nasa Saligang Batas na ang primary jurisdiction ng taripa ay nasa Kongreso,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“Kung magdedesisyon ang Senado at Kamara na bawiin ang kapangyarihan ng Kongreso, rerespetuhin po yan ng Presidente,” he added.

Roque issued the statement after the Senate adopted a resolution urging the president to recall his order to lower tariff rates for imported pork and increase its minimum access volume.

Executive Order 128 mandates that the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume (MAV) will be reduced to 5 percent during the first three months upon the order’s effectivity, and to 10 percent during the months four to 12.

For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 1r5 percent during the first three months upon its effectivity, and 20 percent for the months four to 12.

The order also increases to 350,000 metric tons from 54,000 metric tons of the total volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines.

Duterte signed the order in the first week of April in a bid to address supply shortage, stabilize prices, and minimize the inflation rate due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

But the senators said the policy can pot spell the demise of the local hog industry and that the reduction of import duty and the increase in MAV will not necessarily translate to lower pork prices. The lawmakers also insisted that such policies can only result in the loss of billions of government revenue and the flooding of the market with imported pork.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who drafted the resolution, said that he would file another resolution in May to revoke the executive order and propose appropriate import duties and minimum access volume of pork if the executive department will not heed the Senate’s call.

BAI sees drop in cases of African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported a total of 176 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country in the past month.

The number is lower than the 1,773 cases recorded in August 2020 at the beginning of the outbreak and in April 2021 when the agency logged 520 cases.

As of June 4, there are nine provinces with a total of 19 barangays that still have cases of ASF virus.

These are:
Leyte – 9
Ilocos Norte – 2
Northern Samar – 2
Abra – 1
Apayao – 1
Mountain Province – 1
Cagayan – 1
Eastern Samar – 1
Davao Occidental – 1

“Mahigit 300 (local government unit) na po yung walang reported cases ng ASF for a period ranging from 90 to 180 days ang more,” said Dr. Reildrin Morales, OIC, BAI.

BAI said that areas cleared of ASF may now start repopulating their hogs provided that they coordinate with their local veterinary office or they can visit directly to BAI offices.

Currently, there are 10 farms in Luzon that conducts clinical trial for a potential vaccines against ASF.

“Kung magiging maganda po yung performance nung tina-trial nating bakuna ang isa po sa direksyon natin ay mag mass vaccination tayo lalo na doon sa high risk areas,” Morales said.

As per BAI report, half the number of affected hog raisers have already been compensated which reached a total of P1.55 billion.

BAI projects that it will take about two to three years before the Philippines can finally take control of ASF, especially with the help of local government units.

By declaring a state of calamity due to ASF, the LGUs may now utilize their respective calamity fund for their response efforts against ASF. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Phl hog industry needs P27-B to recover from impact of ASF — DA

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking for fund sources to address the impact of African Swine Fever (ASF) on the country’s hog industry.

Specifically, the DA needs up to P27 billion for its hog recovery program, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

This year alone, the DA requires an additional P6.6 billion for the repopulation of hogs.

Since the ASF outbreak began in 2019, the country has already lost over three million heads of pigs, Dar noted.

The DA is expecting an amount from the Bayanihan 3 but since the government has declared a state of calamity due to ASF, the agency is expecting an additional source of funds for the program.

“Kung may resource kami na pwede naming i-realign ito po ay pwede nang gagawin dito po sa under the state of calamity,” Dar noted.

Secretary Dar said it would take about three years before the country achieves the average number of hogs as before and it will need an overall budget of P27 billion.

Also part of the hog recovery program is funding ASF test kits and the procurement of a potential vaccine against ASF that is currently under clinical trial. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Agriculture groups to boycott DA’s food security summit

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  A number of agricultural groups are planning to boycott the upcoming food security summit to be conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) on May 18 and 19.

The groups said their concerns and recommendations have been repeatedly ignored that is why they decided not to attend the summit.

Among the policies they are opposed to is the importation of rice, chicken and more importantly pork with lower tariff.

“Ipipilit (lang) iyong ideology ng import liberalization. So bakit kami pupunta?” stressed United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) president Atty. Bong Inciong.

The Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) also noted that their recommendation to have first border protection for testing of imported agricultural food products has yet to be established.

This, they say, is one way to prevent the entry of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.

“Kaya bakit natin ibo-boycott itong food summit? Dahil nakikita natin eh walang direksyon para sa ating local producers,” noted Rosendo So, president of SINAG.

Hog raisers are also complaining about the unpaid indemnification of hogs affected by the ASF.

The group warned that this could result in another holiday.

“Ipinakikita natin sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon na tayo ay sawang-sawa na at malapit nang dumating sa tingin ko yung food holiday,” argued Nicanor Briones of ProPork.

Amid these complaints, Agriculture Secretary William Dar is encouraging them to participate in the summit so that they can properly air their side.

Dar noted the importance of everyone’s participation especially in a time of pandemic.

“There is now consciousness on the part of every Filipino na ang sektor ng agrikultura ay ganoon kahalaga during this time of health pandemic,” he said.

The Food Security Summit aims to construct policies that will help the country attain food sufficiency. (With reports from Rey Pelayo)

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