Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Davinio Catbagan practically debunked the local hog raisers claim that the local hog raising industry is dying because of the over importation of pork in the country saying that the interpretation of the word over importation is relative, and that it is not representative of the overall market situation.
In the launching of the BOC Press Corps. Inc.â€™s, fortnightly â€œKapihan sa Aduanaâ€ media forum at the Bureau of Customs Presidents Room yesterday, Catbagan said the country allows only the importation of pork fats and pig extremities as ingredients for processed meat products. Thus, in effect, the local pork meat market should not be affected by the importation of pork in the country.
Catbagan also expressed his thanks to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazonâ€™s adoption of the DAâ€™s proposed measure to use the reference value of 1.97US$ per kilo in the determination of duties for meat importation saying that, â€œWe are very glad of the Bureau of Customs cooperative efforts with the DA in helping solve the problem of the local hog raisers.â€ Local hog raisers claim that, so long as pork importations are appropriately taxed, they can be competitive with the imported meat products.
For his part, Customs Commissioner Biazon assured the DA of the BOCâ€™s support and cooperation to address the hog raisers concerns saying that although, the reference value is just used as a guide for determining the duties of importations as under international customs practices, transaction values are the ones used, Biazon took consideration of the DAâ€™s proposal.
Asked about collection targets, Biazon explained that the BOC is actually tasked to provide the balance between revenue collection, border protection and trade facilitation. According to Biazon, just like the other customs agencies inÂ Â our ASEAN neighbors, he believes that the BOC should also put more emphasis on trade facilitation and border protection, and make revenue collection more efficient through modernization.
â€œIf we can eliminate human intervention in the processing and release of imports by making the procedure fully computerized, then we can eliminate the leakages in the system and maximize collection of revenues,â€ Biazon said.
For her part, BOC-Interim Customs Accreditation Unit (ICARE) Chief lawyer Rhea Gregorio, assured the members of the Customs press that her office shall accredit only the legitimate importers and those who have the capacity to engage in the international trading business, even as she also pointed out that, already, 20 importers have been delisted from the BOC roster of importers after they were discovered to be fictitious.
â€œThe ICARE office guarantees that only legitimate importers whose accreditation documents have been carefully scrutinized and validated shall be accredited,â€ Gregorio said.
In wrapping up the forum, BOC Press Corps. Inc, President Chito Junia thanked the â€œKapihanâ€ guests for the very enlightening discussions on issues affecting the import export industry, especially on the issue of meat importations, saying that the succeeding â€œKapihan sa Aduanaâ€ would even be more dynamic and exciting as other customs related issues shall be discussed.