Philippine Senators “willing to negotiate” with President Duterte on recall of EO 128

Philippine lawmakers are willing to negotiate with President Duterte on Executive Order 128, an order that would slash the import tariff on pork and increase import caps.

19 April 2021, at 9:41am

According to reporting in ABS-CBN News, Senate Minority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is “willing to negotiate” with the executive branch to convince President Duterte to recall his order that would reduce import tariffs and increase volumes of imported pork.

The House of Representative has been calling for the order to be reversed, saying that the imports could harm the local swine industry. Some senators fear that local pig raisers cannot compete with cheap imports.

“I think if the President sees the whole picture, he will change his plans,” Minority Leader Zubiri said on state television PTV.

Executive Order 128 would reduce the tariff on imported pork to between 5% and 10%. Pork importers currently pay a 20% to 30% tariff. The order also increases the total volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines to 350,000 metric tonnes, up from the current volume of 54,000 metric tonnes.

The President issued the order amid skyrocketing pork prices as the local swine industry combats outbreaks of African swine fever. The disease has killed millions of pigs since 2019 and restricted domestic supplies. The Department of Agriculture said that increasing pork imports would stabilize prices and slow inflation.

However, Minority Leader Zubiri disagrees with this assessment, telling reporters, “…importation is not the answer…Importation will kill our local industries.”

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