New admin urged to ditch Duterte fiat on pork, rice tariffs | Inquirer Business
STAKEHOLDERS SLAM EO 171

New admin urged to ditch Duterte fiat on pork, rice tariffs

The government’s move to extend lower tariffs on pork and rice imports received a lukewarm reception from agricultural producers who have repeatedly expressed their opposition to tariff cuts.

President Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 171 just days before Congress resumed its session and over a month before he leaves Malacañang on June 30. Under existing laws, the President is authorized to increase, reduce or remove tariff rates only when Congress is not in session.

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EO No. 171, signed by Mr. Duterte last May 21 but was released only recently, maintained the lower tariffs on imported pork and rice as well as slashed the rates on imported corn and coal.

Rolando Tambago, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. president, said the entire swine industry was “saddened” by the issuance of the executive fiat, which he stressed would hamper the sector’s recovery from the African swine fever contagion.

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“This will push back recovery efforts of the hog industry as it will definitely affect the sector’s confidence to reinvest for increased production output,” said Tambago in a Viber message.

Philippine Maize Federation Inc.’s Roger Navarro said they were expecting the reduced tariffs on corn only as a temporary measure and revenue collections would be earmarked for the development of the corn sector.

“In this regard, we respect the decision of the President. Further, we earnestly hope that the necessary investments for corn post-harvest and storage that our corn sector so badly needs the longest time will be realized and be put in place in the strategic corn farming areas in the country,” Navarro said in a Viber message.

Chester Warren Tan, National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. president, said they were not happy with this development yet they were not surprised Mr. Duterte followed his economic managers’ recommendation.

“We have a new government already. The sitting secretaries should have let the incoming Cabinet members ponder and strategize over this,” Tan said in a Viber message.

For Federation of Free Farmers national manager Raul Montemayor, he considered the imposition of decreased tariffs for imported rice as “totally unnecessary.”

“Imports from non-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries did not increase significantly despite the reduction of tariffs to 35 percent. The Tariff Commission hearings were a sham,” Montemayor said in a Viber message.

Tan and Montemayor said they would ask President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to repeal the EO.

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