Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed the alleged billion-peso amount of corruption in pork imports.
In the plenary session, Lacson said he found out from within the Department of Agriculture (DA) that someone collects “tongpats” or additional cost ranging from P5 to P7 for every kilo of imported pork.
It is said that pork importers are able to provide this because they earn up to P44.64 per kilo of pork that they sell at P284 per kilo.
Because of this, Lacson said he supported the call to President Rodrigo Duterte not to increase pork imports and not to lower its tariff.
He said there is no need to lower the tax because pork importers are already earning at the current level of tariff and imports will also kill the local industry.
In addition, the “tongpats” collected by some DA residents are also said to be even more wolfish.
At present, only up to 54 million kilos can be transported within the limit or minimum access volume that the DA wants to raise and the tariff is at 30 to 40 percent.
Lacson bares alleged corruption in pork importation
According to Lacson, if the DA’s desire to import 400-million kilos of pork continues and the tariff is lowered to 5 to 10 percent-the “tongpats” of some DA members could double, which could range from P10 to P15.
Because of this, Lacson said the lucky ones can collect P4 billion to P6 billion tongpats within the DA.
Before elaborating, Lacson pointed out that the pork importation oversees the DA’s so-called Minimum Access Volume Management Committee, and the committee members include the Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Meat Inspection Service, which he does not accuse of corruption.
Lacson called on the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) to investigate this moto propio.
The DA has not yet made an official statement on Lacson’s allegations.
Last month, the DA said the government plans to increase the minimum allowed volume of pork imports to ensure that the supply of pork in the country is enough due to the effects of African swine fever (ASF).
The DA said a pork supply deficit of almost 400,000 metric tons (MT) is expected this year.