Hontiveros urges DA to focus on ramping up efforts vs ASF instead of price caps

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2021   •   560

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to focus its efforts on preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) instead of imposing price ceilings.

“The government should instead channel its efforts to bring credibility to testing, reporting, and responding to local outbreaks, among others. Hindi na nakakatulong ang ipinataw nilang price control (imposing price control is not helping), so let’s look deeper than the surface,” the senator said.

Hontiveros noted that the DA is already boosting local hog supply by distributing mother pigs and feeds to ASF-cleared areas, however, hog raisers still fear subsequent waves of infection.

Instead of repopulation plans, Hontiveros said the DA should also teach hog raisers preventive measures to protect livestock from ASF. She added that the price cap is making it almost impossible for vendors to recover from the “twindemic” of COVID-19 and ASF.

“Nakararanas tayo ng ‘Twindemic’ —pandemya ng COVID-19 at epidemya ng ASF. Kambal din ang dagok sa ating magbababoy na nalubog pa dahil sa itinakdang price ceiling (We are experiencing a ‘Twindemic’—COVID-19 pandemic and the ASF epidemic. Our hog raisers are also experiencing twin challenges due to the price ceiling),” the senator said.

Hontiveros also proposed to revoke the imposed price ceiling to help affected producers and retailers recover from their losses.

“Dumadaing na ang ating producers at retailers. Ilang eksperto na ang tumutol sa pagpapatupad ng price ceiling. Bawiin na sana ito para makabawi naman sa lugi ang ating mga kababayan (Our producers and retailers are complaining. Several experts have already expressed opposition to implementation of a price ceiling. It should be revoked for the sake of our fellowmen),” she added. AAC 

Number of barangays with ASF drops to 43

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—  The number of barangays affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) since August 2019 has dropped significantly.

From over 2,500 barangays, only 43 have active cases of ASF according to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

However, BAI Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Dr. Reildrin Morales said, the fight against the viral disease is far from over and could take years before it can be completely eradicated from the country.

“Lahat may risk kaya we mitigate the risk. Spain took 30 years. We want to learn from their lessons. Hopefully mas maikli tayo lalo na if hindi magbebenta mga farms na may tama,” Morales said.

He added that ASF may also spread through transport of pigs and pork products, but he assured that measures are in place to prevent transmission.

“May integrity ang accreditation system natin sa importation, pre-border, border and second border natin,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines (ProPork) president, Nick Briones lamented that hog raisers do not report ASF cases.

“Sigurado di matitigil ang ASF dahil walang nagdedeclare na hog raisers kung may tama ng ASF,” he said.

To address issues on pork supply, the Department of Agriculture has rolled out its swine repopulation program, focusing on areas previously affected by the ASF outbreak. AAC ( with reports from Rey Pelayo)

 

 

Senate to reconvene next week to address Duterte appeal on EO 128 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee of the Whole will reconvene next week in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call on lawmakers to give a chance to his order to increase pork imports at lower tariff rates, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.

In a message to reporters, Sotto said the hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 27 to address Duterte’s appeal for lawmakers to consider the intention of his Executive Order 128.

Duterte made the appeal after the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Executive Order 128, which temporarily lowers pork import duties to just 5 percent to 15 percent of the declared shipment value over the next three months.

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.

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

Sotto said senators have also agreed to invite Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to the hearing to elaborate on his letter asking Congress to support the executive order.

Dominguez, in a letter addressed to Sotto, said that he and the administration’s economic development cluster made the recommendation to temporarily reduce pork import tariffs and increase the minimum access volume (MAV) on pork imports “after extensive deliberations and consultations among concerned agencies and the public, with all the tradeoffs considered in the cost benefit analysis done on this major consumer concern.”

The DOF chief pointed out in his letter that the period of the tariff adjustment under the EO emphasizes that “this is a short-term effort that does not aim to harm the domestic industry” and is actually “complementary to the programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in helping the domestic hog industry to recover.”

Dominguez said that as Chairman of the Cabinet’s Economic Development Cluster (EDC), he was taking full responsibility for supporting and recommending that the President sign Executive Order 128.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice will also be invited to the hearing, Sotto said.

 

Duterte asks Senate to give EO on lower pork import tariffs a chance

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on senators to give his executive order lowering tariff rates on pork imports a chance to address issues relating to local pork supply, Malacañang said Wednesday.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is asking the esteemed members of the Senate to give Executive Order No. 128 a chance and consider its intended effects, which include addressing the shortage in swine meat, stabilizing the price of pork meat, and minimizing inflation rate, as mentioned by the Department of Agriculture and the President’s Economic Team,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Duterte made the appeal after the Senate Committee of the Whole adopted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Executive Order 128, which mandates that the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume (MAV) be reduced to 5 percent during the first three months upon the order’s effectivity, and to 10 percent in during the months four to 12.

For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 15 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 argued that the policy could potentially 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 could only result in the loss of billions of government revenue and the flooding of the market with imported pork.

Roque also urged senators to “revisit the EO in two months to assess whether the aforesaid intended effects have been realized/met.”

He assured that Malacañang is one with the Senate in ensuring the recovery of the local swine industry and the attainment of sufficient domestic pork production.

Malacañang earlier said that Duterte will not stop the Congress’ move to revoke the order as it acknowledged that setting tariffs on pork imports is within the authority of the legislative branch.

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