RAVAGED by the African Swine Fever (ASF), the country’s multibillion-peso hog industry, which is the second leading contributor to Philippine agriculture after rice, is in the doldrums.
Note that millions of Filipinos, particularly backyard hog raisers not only in the impoverished countryside but also in urban centers, depend on the swine industry for their cash and livelihood.
And to solve the reported shortage of pork in the local market, President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order (EO) increasing the volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines.
Likewise, EO No. 128 temporarily reduces tariff rates on imported fresh, chilled or frozen meat to address the pork supply shortage and stabilize prices.
The temporary reduction of the tariff rates was proposed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
According to the Chief Executive, there’s a need to take immediate steps to allow the local swine industry to fully recover and attain sufficient local pork production.
But as expected, the beleaguered hog raisers protested, prompting the 24-member Senate, sitting as a committee of the whole, to adopt a resolution urging Malacanang to recall the EO.
In presenting the resolution, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said the executive order can potentially spell the demise of the country’s local hog industry.
Aside from Drilon, the other authors are Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Richard Gordon, Lito Lapid, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Francis Pangilinan, Manny Pacquiao, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Cynthia A. Villar.
Sa tingin ng marami, kailangang kampihan ng mga mambabatas ang mga magbababoy dahil “they are a force to reckon with during national and local elections.”