After slashing tariffs on pork imports, the government lost P1.3 billion. This amount could have been used to fight African Swine Fever or support small farmers and entrepreneurs, according to a senator.
Kiko Pangilinan, Sen., cited the estimate Wednesday as a response to a Bureau of Customs report that noted a sharp rise in pork imports between April and early June.
Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Customs Commissioner, stated that 24.45 million kilograms (or 36.5 million) of pork were imported into April. He also said that 15.14 million kilograms was added from June 1 through 11.
He said that April and May shipment volumes were 500%, 506% and 50% higher than the imports in the same months last year. The BOC collected P846.96 million for the period April 9 through June 11, 2021. According to the official at the BOC, revenue losses from EOs 128 & 134 were estimated at P1.356 billion.
Pangilinan stated that this means less money to support government programs to help local hog farmers, who were severely affected by the ASF epidemic and forced to compete with imported pork.
Carlos Dominguez III, Finance Secretary, stated earlier that revenue losses due to lower import tariffs for pork could reach P11.2 trillion this year as a result of Executive Order 134.
Dominguez stated that the P50.1 million in projected savings by consumers, as calculated by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEPA), from lower pork prices and subsequent inflationary pressures, “far outweigh” the government’s losses due to these tariff cuts.
The senator said that the public still has not felt the benefits of these measures.
” Mataas ang presyo-ng baby at nitong Huli pati Na rinsing isda [The pork price is still high, and recently even fish]. Our people didn’t feel the price drop in pork. Based on government data, it is clear that we didn’t earn any revenue due to the reduced import duties,” stated Pangilinan.
In-quota shipments were also reported by the BOC — or those that fall within the minimum access volume — at 10.46 million kilograms in April, 10.47 million kg in May, and 2.78 million kilograms from June 1-11.
On April, 14, million kilograms of out-quota imports were recorded; 26.03 million kg in May and 12.36million kg between June 1-11.
Last May, President Rodrigo Duterte issued EO133, which raised the MAV for pork imports from 54,210 metric tonnes to 254,210.