Philippine pig and poultry producers rallied behind Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who called on the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Department of Finance (DOF) for transparency in inspecting imported agricultural products.
Rosendo So, chairman of Abono party-list and director of Swine Development Council, said it is high time for Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to act on their concern over Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon’s continued refusal to grant their request for advance copies of inward foreign manifest (IFM) for incoming shipments.
He said their group believes the proposal will boost government’s drive against smuggling as he questioned Biazon’s stand on the issue.
In a letter sent last June 13 and furnished to the media by So, Alcala asked that in the release of imported goods at the ports of entry, DA-Quarantine documentation, inspection and clearance release procedures must be first carried out prior to BOC’s processing and collection of taxes.
“Collection of duties and taxes must be done only after the shipment passed quarantine procedures,” Alcala said in his letter to Purisima.
The agriculture secretary also asked Purisima on the status of BOC’s implementation on reference prices that he wanted imposed on imports starting May 11 this year.
Alcala had recommended the increase in reference prices of imported pork offal from 50 cents (US) a kilo (PhP21.50 a kilo) to US$1.97 (PhP84.71 a kilo), and for prime meat from 80 cents to US$2.15 per kilogram. For chicken, the increase was pegged at $1.23 from 54 cents per kilo, which Alcala based on the prevailing world prices.
According to So, massive smuggling and over-importation had cost the government PhP3.7 billion (US$ 87.1 million) in foregone revenues.
Source: The Philippine Star