Philippines Senate urges President Duterte to recall executive order that cuts import tariffs on pork

According to reporting in ABS CBN news, the senators believe that Executive Order 128 will harm the local pig industry and force hog raisers to compete with cheaper pork imports. At least 17 senators supported the resolution during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing.

"This can potentially spell the demise of our local hog industry, most of them what we call backyard hog raisers," said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who drafted the resolution.

"The Department of Agriculture failed to establish through accurate and reliable data that the country will have 388,790 metric tonnes of deficit in the supply of pork for the year which necessitates the increase in MAV," according to the resolution.

"Such policy will only result in loss of billions of government revenue and the flooding of the market with imported pork," it read.

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.

If the executive branch fails to withdraw the policy, Senator Drilon said he would file another resolution to revoke the executive order on 17 May when Congress is back in session.

"If nothing is changed until 17 May, then we take a more appropriate action to withdraw that delegated authority [to the President] of setting the tariff rates as far as the hog industry is concerned," Drilon said.

"We will propose to the Senate as an institution that we withdraw the power of the president because of the harm it has done to the hog industry," he said.