Allowing more pork imports at lower tariffs for a temporary period is an immediate and practicable response to protect Filipino consumers from price spirals that could further drive up inflation amid the pandemic, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.
The spike in meat prices this year has unduly jacked up food inflation, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Dominguez said this compounds the problems of unemployment, hunger, and reduced or lost incomes for many Filipinos that have led “people to line up at community pantries at dawn”.
A former agriculture secretary, Dominguez said although the Presidential directive to ease the pork supply shortage appears to be a painful solution as it would lead to a revenue loss of P13.68 billion for the government, this would actually slash pork prices to a level estimated to save Filipino consumers a whopping P67.38 billion.
“The gains of consumers reeling from the economic shock of the pandemic dwarf the foregone revenues by PHP53.7 billion, which is clearly a trade-off beneficial to the entire country,” he said.
Dominguez said the worse the country can do in a situation similar to it is facing today is to let supply issues force food prices up even more.