By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Cynthia Villar on Friday admonished the officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for recommending to reduce tariff rates and increase minimum access volume (MAV) on imported pork products as a local industry were devastated by African swine flu.
In her statement during the continuation of the public hearing by the Senate committee of the whole on Executive Order No.128, Villar said that as chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, she studied that hog meat importation for the last 10 years submitted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“BIlang Chairman na Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food ay pinag-aralan ko po ang importation ng hog meat for the last ten years submitted by the Bureau of Customs. Lumabas po na ang highest importation of hog meat was in 2018 and what happens in the years thereafter 2019 and 2020,” she said.
Villar explained that in 2018, we imported about 392,000 metric tons 2018; 325,000 metric tons in 2019 and 256,000 metric tons in 2020.
Showing the attached information of pork in 2018-2020, Villar said that only the following are imported under the MAV or outside MAV with 30% to 40% percent tariff: in 2018, 120,000 MT which is 30.8% of the total importation.
“In 2019 its 96,000 (MT) which 28% of the total importation and in 2020 its 92,000 which is 35.9% of the total importation,” she said.
Villar said that the rest are imported from internal organs which is 5%-10%. “In 2018 ang ini-import pong laman-loob is 271, 000 metric tons; sa 2019 ay 239,000 metric tons and i2020 163,000 metric tons.”
With this, Villar said that “there is no need to reduce tariff because majority of the imports are offal with 5% to 10% tariff.”
“In addition, there is no need to increase MAV because the good meat under MAV and outside MAV which has is has only around 30% to 40% tariff is only 30% ng sinasabi nilang short ng local production,” she said.
The lady senator said that she wanted a clear answers from DA official on how they arrived at 388,000 metric tons needed to be imported which does not include the imports with 5% to 10% tariffs.
“Nais ko pong maliwanagan ko paano ng project ang DA na lumabas po 388,000 MT. Hindi nila sinabi na kasali dito ang offal na ang tariff ay 5%-10% already,” she said.
She further said that any projection should be based on data from previous import statistics to come up with realistic data and it should be decided beneficial to local hog raiser of which is 65% are backyard hog raiser who are poor farmers.
“I just want DA to explain to me their decision making process which I think is in favor of the importers and not in favor of our poor backyard hog raisers,” she said.
“With regards to our consumers, matagal na pong mababa ang tariff ng pork-70% of our imported hog meat has 5%-10% tariff. Ibinenta po ba nila ng mura ang pork sa inyo?,” she ended. (AI/MTVN)