AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar said the declaration of a state of calamity following the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak will free up emergency funding to compensate affected farmers and pay for rapid testing and disinfection.
“We will now be able to quickly pay affected farmers. We can also now buy much needed… RT-PCR test kits and disinfection trucks,” Mr. Dar said in a virtual briefing Wednesday.
“We still need an additional P6.6 billion (on top of our) budget so that in the next three years, there will be a total of P27 billion to fully accelerate the recovery of the hog industry,” he added.
On May 10, President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Proclamation 1143 that declared a one-year state of calamity due to the ASF outbreak.
Mr. Duterte ordered all local government units (LGUs) and government agencies to assist in containing the spread of ASF.
“All government agencies and LGUs are enjoined to render full assistance to and cooperation with each other, and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate measures in a timely manner to curtail the further spread of ASF, address the supply deficit in pork products, reduce retail prices, and jumpstart the rehabilitation of the local hog industry,” Mr. Duterte said in the proclamation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dar said the release of the executive order that will amend Executive Order (EO) No. 128, which lowered the tariffs on pork imports, is pending.
“The EO on changing the tariffs of pork imports amending EO 128, (I hope) will come soon. Around 44,000 metric tons (MT) of pork imports have arrived since the issuance of the EO on April 7,” Mr. Dar said.
Mr. Dar added that the Department of Agriculture is also still finalizing the details on the suggested retail price (SRP) scheme for imported pork products and expects it to be out within the week.
“The SRPs on imported pork that we are finalizing are still based on EO 128. There are still final discussions being done now. Hopefully within the week, we will be able to release the new SRPs,” Mr. Dar said.
Currently, the SRP for imported pork shoulder (kasim) is P270 per kilogram while imported pork belly (liempo) is P350 per kilogram.
EO 128 lowered the tariff rates on pork imported within the minimum access volume (MAV) quota to 5% in the first three months, increasing to 10% in the following nine months.
The order also lowered the tariff rates on out-of-quota pork imports to 15% in the first three months, rising to 20% in the succeeding nine months.
Recently, the Senate and the cabinet’s economic ministers agreed on final revisions to EO 128. Changes include tariff rates for pork imports within the MAV quota of 10% in the first three months and 15% over the following nine months.
Tariff rates for out-of-quota pork imports were also recommended for resetting to 20% for the first three months, rising to 25% in the succeeding nine months.
Before the EO, pork imports within the MAV quota paid 30%, while out-of-quota pork imports were charged 40%. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave