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President Rodrigo Duterte will respect senators' push for him to recall his executive order which reduces pork tariffs, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

"Nakikinig naman po ang Presidente. At alam naman po ng Presidente na sa ating Saligang Batas ang talagang mayroong primary jurisdiction pagdating sa taripa ay ang Kongreso (The President listens. And the President knows that under our Constitution, Congress has primary jurisdiction when it comes to tariff rates),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

To protect local hog raisers from bankruptcy, the Senate Committee of the Whole on April 15 adopted the resolution asking Duterte to revoke Executive Order (EO) No. 128 which reduces the tariff on pork importation.

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Roque said Duterte respects the power of the Congress to withdraw or terminate his EO through a joint resolution.

“Kung magdedesiyon ang Kongreso natin, ang Senado at ang Kamara, na talagang bawiin yung executive order ng ating Presidente, 'yan naman ay saklaw ng kapangyarihan ng Kongreso at rerespetuhin po 'yan ng ating Presidente (If Congress, the Senate and House, decides to revoke the executive order of our President, it is part of their power and the President will respect that),” he added.

He also assured that that Agriculture Secretary William Dar continues to enjoy the President’s trust despite recommending the passage of the EO which reduces pork tariffs.

"Meron po talagang kumpiyansa si Presidente kasi pinaniwalaan niya ang advice ni Secretary Dar na salungat dun sa paninindigan ng ating mga senador (The President still trusts him because he believed in the advice of Secretary Dar even if it is against the belief of our senators),” he said.

Despite Dar’s advice, Roque explained that the Congress has primary jurisdiction when it comes to tariff fixing.

“Pero kung tama man o mali si Secretary Dar, e ang Saligang Batas naman po nagsasabi na talagang poder naman po ng Kongreso yang tariff fixing so rerespetuhin nga po ng Presidente kung anong magiging desisyon ng mga senador at kongresista (Whether Secretary Dar is right or wrong, the Constitution states that tariff fixing is within the jurisdiction of Congress so the President will respect whatever decision made by senators and representatives),” he said.

EO 128, issued by Duterte on April 7, reduced the tariff rate on pork imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) to 5 percent for the first three months upon the effectivity of the order and to 10 percent for the next nine months from the current rate of 30 percent.

Under EO 128, pork imports outside MAV were also reduced with a lower tariff of 15 percent for the first three months and 20 percent for the succeeding nine months from the current rate of 40 percent.

"The two policies can potentially spell the demise of our local hog industry, most of them belong to what we call backyard hog raisers,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin said of the resolution.

Drilon, who authored the Senate resolution, said the setting of the MAV and the power to set tariff rates is a delegated power that may be withdrawn or terminated by Congress through a joint resolution.

Senators who co-authored the resolution include Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Lito Lapid, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.


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