The Senate Committee of the Whole has adopted the resolution asking President Duterte to recall Executive Order No. 128 which provides for a temporary tariff reduction on the importation of pork products and to recall the recommendation to increase the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) of pork.
“The two policies can potentially spell the demise of our local hog industry, most of them belong to what we call backyard hog raisers.” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said of the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the Upper Chamber on Thursday, April 15.
Drilon, who authored the Senate resolution, said the setting of the MAV and the power to set the tariff rates is a delegated power which may be withdrawn or terminated by Congress through a joint resolution.
“It is Congress which authorizes the President to impose tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues and other duties or imports and that such authorization can be exercised only within the specified limits set in the law and is further subject to limitations and restrictions which Congress may impose,” the resolution stressed.
Senators who co-authored the resolution include Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Lito Lapid, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Drilon filed the resolution as the Senate launched a hearing into allegations of corruption in the pork importation amid the local hog industry’s battle with African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.
Senators earlier lamented Duterte’s signing of the EO last March 26, when Congress was no longer in session.
The President also sent Congress a letter to convey his proposal to increase the minimum access volume or MAV by 350,000 metric tons (MT) from 54, 210 MT.
Senators believe the proposal to set the MAV from the current 54,210 MT to 404,210 MT for 2021 cannot take into effect because the recommendation was sent to and received by the Senate when it was no longer in session
The resolution also scored the Department of Agriculture (DA) for its failure to prove, through accurate and reliable data, that the country will have 388,790 MT of deficit in supply of pork for the year, which necessitates the increase in MAV.