'Wag na tayo mag away:' Villar seeks compromise on pork import issues
MANILA, Philippines—To avoid potential conflict between the legislative and the executive branches, Senator Cynthia Villar on Tuesday sought a compromise on the government’s pork importation policy being questioned by many lawmakers.
In the Senate alone, many members oppose the lowering of tariff rates on imported pork products as well as the government’s plan to raise the minimum access volume (MAV) from 54,000 metric tons (MT) to 400,000 (MT).
These have also been hotly debated during the hearings of the Senate Committee of the Whole.
At the third hearing of the committee on Tuesday, however, Villar urged Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to just meet halfway to prevent any animosity between the two branches of government.
“So sana ito ang request kay Secretary Dominguez na mag compromise na tayo dito kasi pag hindi tayo nag compromise e malaking gulo ito, tapos tayo lahat mawawalan dito, mawawalan yung consumers, mawawalan ng mga hog farmers. Magkakagalit tayo—yung legislative at executive— kasi hindi tayo nag agree,” said Villar, head of the Senate committee on agriculture.
(So I hope, my request to Secretary Dominguez is let’s compromise because if we don’t compromise then we would have a big problem and we’ll all be at the losing end—the consumers, hog farmers. We’ll fight each other— the legislative and the executive—if we don’t agree.)
“So sana hinihiling ko sa inyo, noon pa sumusulat na ako sa inyo, e mag compromise na tayo dito. Bababan nyo yung MAV at huwag nyo na syadong babaan yung tariff. Ibaba nyo yung MAV at wag nyong masyadong babaan yugn tariff.”
(So I’m requesting that let’s compromise here. Lower the MAV and don’t further reduce the tariff)
Instead of spending hours of hearing time debating the issue, Villar said a “proper compromise” would make everyone happy.
“Pag nakikinig ako dito na tetense ako dito,” she then said.
“So yun lang ang hiling ko sayo Secretary Dominguez na mag intercede ka na dito, mag compromise na tayo para happy tayo together kasi marami pa tayong gagawin together,” Villar added.
(That’s all I’m asking, for Secretary Dominguez to intercede here, let’s compromise so we’d be happy together because we still have a lot to do together)
Villar said they could move on to other pressing problems if they could come to an agreement on pork importation.
“Sana mag compromise na tayo dito, huwag na tayo mag away. We meet halfway, she stressed.
(Let’s compromise here, let’s not fight each other. We meet halfway.)
Dominguez and Agriculture Secretary William Dar said they would keep Villar’s suggestions in mind.
“Our minds are not closed. We want to achieve together your goal of making sure that there’s a reasonable and affordable price for pork and other food stock for our consumers that our inflation rate is not damaging to our economy in the long run and definitely that theres’ support to the pork producing industry,” the finance chief said.
“As I said I try not to be stupid, sometimes I am, but I try not to be stupid and I will definitely listen to a proposal to move ahead on this issue,” he added.
Dar said he would follow through on Dominguez’s promise about keeping his mind open, adding that as part of the economic development cluster team, whichever decision was made on importing pork would be followed.