Prices of food are up to 38 percent higher in French overseas territories (AFP Photo/ELIOT BLONDET)
BY MARIO CASAYURAN
The Senate will look into the alleged oversupply of chicken meat in the market.
The move came after the Poultry Integrators of the Philippines claimed that imported chicken meat continues to flood the market.
The group complained that local refrigeration facilities accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) are full of imported chicken, crowding out local production.
It stated that local producers were forced to sell their chicken at a lower price.
This started when Executive Order 23 issued in 2017 reduced to five percent from 40 percent tariff rate on mechanically-deboned meat of chicken. This paved the way for under-declaration.
Importation of regular dressed chicken or chicken parts carries a higher tariff rate. This forced some 30 percent of the local poultry industry to close shop, the group added.
This “anomaly’’ will be probed by the Senate constituted into a Committee of the Whole (COW) following a disclosure by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson that government would lose billions of pesos in revenues over a questionable pork importation.
Lacson said a group operating inside the Department of Agriculture (DA) would rake in billions of pesos from pork importation through ‘’tongpats’ (commission) should government allow the importation of 404,000 kilos of pork which far more than local demand and the reduction of tariff rates from 30-40 to five-10 percent.
Constitution of the 24-member Senate into a COW was stated in Lacson’s Senate Resolution 685.
The Senate learned that there is mishandling of pork and poultry due to crowded refrigeration facilities forcing vendors to put them on floors of markets in Divisoria, Balintawak market, Nepa Q Mart, and other markets.