Expose the syndicate in DA and kickback scheme in importation
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today urged the Congress and Senate to investigate the kickback scheme in pork importation that will allow importers and corrupt Agri officials to make a killing at the expense of the domestic hog industry. “We cannot allow this institutionalized corruption. Heads will roll at the Department of Agriculture (DA) for allowing importation syndicates and technical smugglers to have their heyday while local hog raisers are deep in bankruptcy and seeking for aid.”
The agriculture department and economic managers are pressing on lowering the tariff of pork imports from the current 30% to a negligible 5% while increasing the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) from 54,000 metric tons to 404, 000 metric tons. Based on reports, the average profit margin of imported pork is at P5 to P7 per kilo. With the tariff reduction and increase in the volume of imports, ‘tongpats’ or kickback will increase to P10 to 15 per kilo. With the increased import volume and lowering of tariffs, importers are set to rack up a minimum of P6-billion.
“We cannot trust the DA, an agency that is notorious for corrupt practices such as the fertilizer scam among others. It is unacceptable for the DA to be in cahoots with unscrupulous importers and traders,” says KMP chairman emeritus and Anakpawis chairperson Rafael Mariano.
Farmers also urged the lawmakers to decisively reject the DA’s recommendation to reduce tariffs and increase the allocation for imported meat. Massive importation will slowly but surely kill the hog industry and severely affect linkages such as the corn and feeds industries,” Mariano said.
The former DAR secretary said tariffs collected from imported agricultural products should be earmarked to support domestic agriculture but unfortunately, unscrupulous importers are benefiting from kickbacks, technical smuggling, and misdeclaration of imports.
Mariano added that history has shown that import liberalization did not help strengthen local food production and instead wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of Filipino food producers and consumers.
In the recently concluded Livestock and Poultry Stakeholders Workshop, various groups and industry stakeholders expressed strongly against volume importation and tariff reduction of pork products. ###