President Duterte is prepared to veto any legislative measure that seeks to change the import tariffs on pork products, Malacañang announced Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace respects the call of some lawmakers to revoke Executive Order No. 128 on the temporary reduction of tariff rates of imported pork but the President may exercise his veto power if changes will be made in the rates.
Some lawmakers have opposed the President’s decision on the reduction of tariff rates on imported pork for a year supposedly aimed at boosting local supply and stabilizing prices.
The new tariff rates are contained in EO 128 recently issued by the President in light of the devastating impact of the African Swine Fever outbreak on local hog production.
“In the event that our lawmakers decide to reverse EO No 128 lowering the tariff on imported pork, such action is within the legislative power of our lawmakers. EO No. 128 lowering the tariff of imported pork is only a delegated power given by Congress to the President to impose tariff rates, imports or exports pursuant to Sec. 28 par 2, Art VI of the Constitution. Hence, Congress may, by law, impose limitations on such delegated power or may reverse the same,” Roque said in a statement Tuesday night, April 13.
“Further, should Congress pass another bill changing the tariff on imported pork, the President may veto any particular item or items in such appropriation, revenue, or tariff bill,” he said.
The Palace however still chose to avoid any stalemate with the lawmakers on the matter. Roque mentioned the Palace’s readiness to work with Congress to protect both hog raisers and consumers.
“However, given the importance of the issue, the Executive and the Legislative branches can work together in protecting the interest of the stakeholders such as consumers and our hog raisers alike,” he said.
Under EO No. 128, the import tariff for fresh, chilled or frozen pork will be lowered 5 percent from 30 percent under the minimum access volume (MAV) quota for the next three months. The rate will be increased to 10 percent in the next nine months. After 12 months, it will return to the 30 percent tariff rate.
On pork imports beyond the quota, the tariff rate will be reduced to 15 percent from 40 percent for the first three months. It will be raised to 20 percent in the next nine months. It will be back to 40 percent after a year.
Three senators reportedly planned to file a joint resolution to revoke the President’s order lowering tariffs on pork imports amid concerns it would adversely affect the local hog industry.