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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tariff on imported pork, just temporary anti-inflationary measure, says President Duterte

The tariff imposed on imported pork is just a temporary measure to bring down prices and could be easily revoked, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on April 19, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

“Kung medyo malakas na ‘yong domestic market and there is a movement, madali lang naman eh we can always withdraw the EO that I signed,” President Duterte said in his address to the nation.

“Madali lang man ‘yan. It’s just a temporary measure really to bring down the prices, but the senators see it in a different light.”

Fearing a flood of imported pork that could kill the local hog industry, lawmakers urged President Duterte to withdraw Executive Order 128, which lowers tariff on imported pork.

The senators’ concern is legitimate, the President said, noting, however, that his economic managers favored reducing tariff on imported pork as a counter inflationary measure.

“I can understand from where the senators come from. There is also the domestic supply which they intend to protect and they are vehement about it because I think that --- I think that they think that they are right,” he said. “The problem is my --- ‘yong mga managers ko, mga finance.”

The President said government economic managers implement certain measures that would redound to the benefit of the people overall.

In his report to the President, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the imposition of the import tariff is not without basis, stressing that during a February Cabinet discussion, it was projected that pork shortage would be around 388,000 metric tons.

“At ang demand po natin this year based doon sa 15 kilos na per capita consumption ay 1.6 million metric tons po ang demand. So kung titingnan natin ‘yong supply ay nasa 1.2 million metric tons so talagang may pagkukulang po tayo ng supply dito sa taon na ito gawa naman nag-shrink, bumaba ‘yong local food production ng 25 percent,” Dar told the President.

“We are not killing the local hog industry. Ang inaangkat lang po natin po mahal na Pangulo ay ‘yong kakulangan lang natin nitong taon. So iyong mga measures na pinapatupad po natin through your approval ay mapababa natin ‘yong inflation kasi bababa talaga ‘yong presyo sa merkado dito sa mga imported pork.”

EO 128 was a result of painstaking process, Dar said, noting that lowering the tariff on imported pork will also cut pork prices in the market. PND