TO ENSURE the judicious execution of and to guard against profiteering in the billion-peso pork importation, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday said he will file a resolution for the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food to strictly monitor the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 128.
“Ang ASF ang pinaka-ugat nitong shortage ng baboy. Therefore, pork importation is a stop-gap measure. Pero hindi tayo dapat maging adik sa pag-import ng karne,” said the former food security secretary.
Pangilinan was responding to media queries regarding President Duterte’s EO 128, which he signed Wednesday evening, lowering tariff rates for imported pork as a means to address pork shortage following the culling of hogs infected with African swine fever (ASF).
“Ang pagdeklara ng State of Calamity ang critical dahil ayan ang daan para matulungan natin ang ating mga magbababoy (A State of Calamity declaration is critical because that’s how we will provide meaningful interventions to support our local hog raisers),” he said.
The resolution which Pangilinan is set to file soon will call on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food “to monitor and exercise its oversight functions over the importation of pork under EO 128.”
“Pagtutulungan namin sa Senado na hindi aabusuhin itong pag-iimport ng milyon-milyong kilo ng pork,” said Pangilinan, who spearheaded the call of the Senate for the swift declaration of a State of Calamity that will provide the Department of Agriculture the much needed funds to cushion the effects of the ASF.
“Dito sa EO 128, sana isinabay nila yung State of Calamity declaration. Dahil pag pumasok na ang tone-toneladang imported na baboy, ang laking competition at epekto nito sa local hog industry. Maraming mawawalan ng hanapbuhay,” Pangilinan said.
“Panawagan natin ay aprubahan na iyong State of Calamity declaration para yung indemnification ng ating mga magbababoy ay magkaroon ng mabilis at agarang tulong. Iyon ang solusyon na dapat sana inuna,” he said.
Pangilinan earlier stressed that the government will lose around 11 to 14 billion pesos in revenues if the tariff rates were lowered. He said this amount could have otherwise been used to provide direct aid to ASF-affected hog raisers.
The local hog industry has lost around 60 billion pesos in 2020 due to ASF, with millions of pigs culled in efforts to curb the disease.