Agriculture William Dar is already investigating Sen. Ping Lacson’s allegation that some of DA’s officials charge P5 to P7 per kilo of imported pork.
Dar does not yet have a timeline for when the investigation should end, but he said it has already begun.
“We will investigate that, ngayon ko lang nalaman ‘yan. Basta iinvestigate ko muna, ako naman, due process lahat,” said Dar.
Lacson is set to file a resolution for the Senate Committee of the Whole or Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate what he says is “tongpats” on imported pork products.
His information allegedly came from an “insider” in the DA where it is said that the syndicate charges every kilo of imported pork.
He said the syndicate is imposing millions of pesos and this is possibly the reason why there is a push to allow the import of 400,000 metric tons or 400 million kilograms of pork and lower the tariff to 5 to 10 percent.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also called on the Senate and Congress to investigate the alleged kickback on imported pork.
DA chief orders probe on alleged corruption in imported pork
The group warned that importers and some officials will get rich by collecting kickbacks while the local hog industry is dying.
In a statement, KMP chairman emeritus and Anakpawis chairperson Rafael Mariano said the DA cannot be trusted and it is unacceptable that they have accomplices who are questionable importers and traders.
“We cannot trust the Department of Agriculture (DA), an agency that is notorious for corrupt practices such as the fertilizer scam among others. It is unacceptable for the DA to be in cahoots with unscrupulous importers and traders,” said Mariano, who became Department of Agrarian Reform chief under Duterte in 2016.
The AGAP Partylist also called on the Senate to investigate the DA’s petition to raise the minimum access volume (MAV) to 400,000 metric tons from the current 54,000 metric tons and lower the tariff on imported pork to 5-10 percent from the current 30- 40 percent.
According to Atty. Jane Bacayo, Executive Director of the Minimum Access Volume Secretariat of the Department of Agriculture, that nothing has changed in the MAV allocation of licenses even before the administration of Sec. William Dar, based on MAV guidelines.