President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered to retain the 5 percent tariff on mechanically deboned meat (MDM), a decision in favor of the local meat processors to the dismay of local raisers.
President Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) 123 to keep the tariff on MDM low at 5 percent, instead of reverting it to 40 percent amid the lapse of the country’s Quantitative Restriction (QR) privileges and the eventual enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law (RA 11203).
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) lauded Duterte’s decision and said that “it is consistent with the government’s well-defined policy to promote the domestic manufacturing sector, generate employment, protect consumers and ensure economic growth.”
About 90 percent to 95 percent of raw materials of the local meat processing industry are imported abroad amid the lack of MDM production in the Philippines.
In seeking the retention of the 5 percent tariff on MDM, PAMPI asked the government to assess the minimum tariff on imported raw materials used in manufacturing that are not locally available.
“MDM is not locally produced. It is a primary raw material in the production of processed meats such as hotdogs, sausages, canned meat products, and similar items which provide the protein needs of our people at affordable prices,” PAMPI President Felix O. Tiukinhoy Jr. said.
Tiukinhoy said “canned products using MDM are among the ‘must’” items in relief food packs that are produced by PAMPI members and distributed by government agencies to our people during national emergencies arising from natural calamities or disease outbreaks.”
However, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) Chairperson Rosendo So stressed that keeping the MDM tariff low at 5 percent, saying a 40 percent tariff on MDM will bring in additional P5.5 billion additional revenues to the country.
This, according to him, could be used for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Based on SINAG’s estimates, consumers will only pay an additional P1.20 for 350-gram luncheon meat, a mere 1.55 percent increase, if the MDM tariff is reverted to 40 percent. For a 150-gram meatloaf, the price increase is even lower at P0.525.
“Consumers shelling out an additional P0.525 is a good start for this year in our continuing fight against the global pandemic,” So said.
Last week, So sent a formal letter to Duterte seeking his intervention on this matter and hoping the latter will decide in his group’s favor.
What happened, however, was far from that, with Duterte deciding on the favor of the local meat processors instead
In the EO, Duterte said he made the decision in “view of the continuing crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic” and that “there is an urgent need to adopt measures aimed towards mitigating the adverse impacts of the current situation on the lives and livelihoods of Filipinos.”
“It is necessary for the government to provide an enabling environment that ensures the continued supply of essential food products at stable prices, helps businesses recover and sustain their operations, and preserves and creates employment opportunities, all for the purpose of supporting the economy in bouncing back and resuming its growth momentum,” Duterte further said.