Lacson: Senate has no choice but to give order on pork import tariffs a chance

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021   •   544

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said that the Senate has no choice but to give a chance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 128, which mandates the temporary increase of pork importations at lower tariff rates.

“First, the Senate has no choice since the reduced tariff rates and the increased in-quota MAV [minimum access volume] have already taken effect,” Lacson said in a statement.

Lacson issued the statement after Duterte asked senators to consider his order’s intended effects, which include addressing the shortage in swine meat, stabilizing the price of pork meat, and minimizing the inflation rate, as mentioned by the Department of Agriculture and the President’s Economic Team.

The senator also lamented the lack of inter-departmental consultation regarding the move to reduce tariff rates on pork importation.

“Kung meron lang sanang nangyaring inter-departmental courtesy consultation, since EO 128 is a consequence of a delegated authority granted by Congress to the President anyway, we could have given our input based on our own consultations and research,” he said.

Lacson reiterated that the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) conclusion that demand for pork has not changed in spite of the pandemic is “flawed.”

“I had pointed out during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing, the 50% contraction registered by the hotel and restaurant operations should easily affect demand since the pre-pandemic 8.2 million foreign tourists are now eating pork somewhere else outside the country,” he said.

“Thus, at 15 kilograms of pork consumption per capita as estimated would mean 120 million kilograms less pork. That should be substantial enough to consider when they came up with the 350,000,000 kilograms in additional in-quota MAV allocation,” he added.

Lacson said Duterte’s appeal “might as well be directed” toward the 80,000 backyard hog raisers, their families, farmhands, and all others now being affected by the EO, both directly and indirectly.

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.

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

Lacson-Sotto tandem to endorse 15 senatorial bets in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III has bared the list of senatorial candidates they will be endorsing in the 2022 national and local elections.

The list includes the following senatorial bets:

  1. Antique Rep. Loren Legarda
  2. Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero
  3. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  4. Senator Migs Zubiri
  5. Senator Joel Villanueva
  6. Senator Richard Gordon
  7. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay
  8. Former DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan
  9. Former Senator JV Ejercito
  10. Former QC Mayor Herbert Bautista
  11. Former DA Secretary Manny Piñol
  12. Monsour del Rosario
  13. Powee Capino
  14. Minguita Padilla

Sotto said the senatorial candidates included in their list are the ones who “deserve to be in the Senate.”

They will also endorse a “surprise candidate.”

“Tulungan niyo po kami sa pagtaguyod sa kandidatura ng ating mga kaibigan. Nakakasiguro po kami na malaki ang maitutulong ng ating mga kandidato sa ating bansa, sa ating mga kababayan, at sa Senado,” Sotto said.

Lacson and Sotto are seeking the presidency and vice presidency, respectively, in the next year’s polls.

Lacson-Sotto tandem files COC for president, VP bids

Robie de Guzman   •   October 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday filed their certificates of candidacies (COC) to run for president and vice president, respectively, in the 2022 national elections.

Lacson and Sotto filed their COCs past 11 a.m.

This is Lacson’s second try at seeking the presidential post after a failed bid nearly two decades ago.

Should they win the election next year, the lawmakers said they will intensify efforts against corruption and illegal drugs and ensure proper balance in the use of national budget.

“Kung ipagkakaloob ng Dios na ang Lacson-Sotto tandem ang mapipiling mamuno isang disiplanong burukrasya ang paiiralin, kabilang na ang maayos na paggastos ng pambansang budget upang makaabot ang biyaya at kaunlaran sa mga liblib na lugar ng bansa,” Lacson said during a short interview with the media after their COC filing.

“If we hold the reigns of the executive department we will able to execute it well. We know the ails, we know the solutions, balance the budget, budget reform, reign the money to the people, enhance the fight in illegal drugs by more emphasis on demand with reduction strategy,” Sotto said.

Lacson is running under the Demokratikong Reporma Party while Sotto is under the Nationalist People’s Coalition. Both lawmakers sit as chairmen of their respective parties.

Lacson resigns from Senate finance committee to focus on 2022 budget scrutiny

Marje Pelayo   •   August 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson has tendered his resignation from the Senate Finance Committee to focus on scrutinizing the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022.

Lacson, who sat as the Committee’s vice chairperson, vowed to keep a close eye on budget deliberations especially after the Commission on Audit (COA) red flagged several agencies in its recent audit reports.

The senator cited that COA’s audit reports indicate “blatant inefficiency, unconscionable incompetence and worse, probable misuse and abuse of public funds in virtually the entire government.”

“I trust that it is to the greatest interest of our people to once and for all, ferret out the truth behind these reports, put value to the oft-ignored COA mandate, and ensure that there will be no ‘sacred cows’ in making accountable those who have blundered the effective and proper use of public monies,” Lacson said in his letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Lacson assured the Senate leadership that he will “actively participate in the budget deliberations and reinforce the democratic system of checks and balances.”

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