President Duterte will respect the move of Congress seeking to nullify the temporary reduction of imported tariffs on pork products, Malacañang said Monday, April 19.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President recognized the power of lawmakers on tariff adjustments should it decide to reverse the tariff cut for a year on imported pork initiated by the Executive branch.
“Nakikinig naman po ang Presidente at alam naman ng Presidente na sa ating saligang-batas, ang may primary jurisdiction pagdating sa taripa ay ang Kongreso (The President listens and the President knows that under the Constitution, Congress has primary jurisdiction on tariffs),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday.
“So kung magdedesiyon ang Senado at Kamara na talagang bawiin ang executive order ng ating Presidente, ‘yan naman po ay saklaw ng kapangyarihan ng Kongreso at ‘yan ay rerespetuhin ng ating Presidente (So if the Senate and House of Representatives decide to revoke the executive order issued by the President, that’s covered by the power of Congress. That will respected by the President),” he said.
Early this month, the President signed Executive Order No. 128 lowering the import tariff for fresh, chilled or frozen pork to 5 percent from 30 percent under the minimum access volume (MAV) quota for three months. The rate will be increased to 10 percent in the next nine months. It will be restored to 30 percent after a year.
The tariff rate for pork imports beyond the quota, on the other hand, 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. The rate will be back to 40 percent afterwards.
The temporary reduction on import duty on pork products seeks to augment meat supply and stabilize prices in the country in the wake of the damaging impact of African Swine Fever on local hog production. Duterte’s decision came after asking Congress to increase the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork imports this year by 350,000 metric tons.
Several lawmakers objected, however, to the President’s decision amid concerns it would harm the the local hog industry. A resolution asking the president to recall EO 128 has been adopted by Senate Committee of the Whole.
Earlier, the Palace said it respects the action of Senate but mentioned the President’s readiness to veto any bill that seeks to change the import tariffs on pork products. “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,” Roque said.
Trusting the DA chief
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, meantime, continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President, according to Roque.
“Mukhang pong mayroon pa talagang kumpyansa si Presidente kasi pinaniwalaan niya ‘yung advice ni Secretary Dar na salungat sa paninindigan ng ating mga senador (It looks like the President has confidente in him because he believed the advice of Secretary Dar that was contrary to the view of the senators),” Roque said.
“Kung tama o mali si Secretary Dar, eh ang saligang-batas nagsasabi na poder naman ng Congres ang tariff fixing. Rerespetuhin ng Presidente kung ano ang magiging desisyon ng ating mga senador at kongresista (Regardless if Secretary Dar is right or wrong, the Constitutions states the power of Congress on tariff fixing. The President will respect the decision of our senators and congressmen),’ he said.