HOG deliveries to Metro Manila from various parts of the country are nearing 390,000 animals as the authorities seek to expand the pork supply to head off an inflation crisis, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The DA said in a report that an additional 4,731 hogs were delivered to Metro Manila on May 6, which brought the total delivered supply to 388,367 hogs since the implementation of price controls via Executive Order (EO) No. 124 issued on Feb. 8.

Of the total, 1,570 hogs were sourced from Antique, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental; followed by 1,420 hogs from Batangas; and 692 from Oriental Mindoro and Marinduque.

Other areas that provided hogs were Sorsogon and Camarines Sur with 531; Zamboanga del Sur 250; Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental 245; and Tarlac 23 hogs.  

Since Feb. 8, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) accounted for 41.3% of the hog shipments to Metro Manila, followed by Western Visayas with 21.3%, and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) 12.6%.

The DA said 28,203 kilograms of pork in carcass form also arrived in Metro Manila on May 6 which brought total deliveries to 2.69 million kilogram since Feb. 8. Majority of the carcasses were sourced from Central Luzon.

Earlier in the year, the DA projected a pork supply deficit of 400,000 metric tons (MT) as a result of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

The price caps were lifted on April 8. The price ceilings for pork shoulder (kasim) were set at P270 per kilogram (/kg) pork belly (liempo) P300/kg, and whole chicken P160/kg. 

Instead, the DA implemented a suggested retail price (SRP) for imported kasim of P270 /kg, with imported liempo at P350/kg.

Recently, the Senate and the economic team of President Rodrigo R. Duterte reached a compromise on the recommended amendments to EO 128, which had lowered the tariffs on imported pork in a bid to increase supply.

Under the compromise, the tariffs for pork imports inside the minimum access volume (MAV) quota were to be set at 10% in the first three months and up to 15% in the following nine months.

Out-of-quota pork import tariffs were also recommended to be set at 20% for the first three months and 25% in the succeeding nine months.  

MAV refers to agricultural commodities that can be imported at lower tariffs under the World Trade Organization (WTO) trading system.

The original terms of EO 128, issued on April 7, had reduced the tariff rates for pork imports within the MAV quota to 5% in the first three months and to 10% in the following nine months. Out-of-quota pork imports were to be charged 15% and 20% over those periods, respectively.

Before the issuance of the EO, in-quota pork imports paid 30% tariff while out-of-quota pork imports paid 40%.

Also part of the compromise was the reduction of the expanded MAV import quota to an additional 254,210 metric tons (MT), from the 404,000 MT previously recommended by Mr. Duterte to Congress. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave