VARIOUS farmers’ groups have joined hands and brought the Board of Investments (BOI) to court over tax incentives given to a Thai company involved in the production of aqua feeds, hogs and chickens.
In a case filed before the Supreme Court on March 7, the petitioners have accused BOI Executive Directors Lucita P. Reyes, Felicitas Agoncillo-Reyes, Efren V. Leaño, and Raul V. Angeles of grave abuse of discretion for awarding a pioneer status to Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Incorporated.
The Thai company and the BOI Board of Trustees have also been named as respondents.
The petitioners are: National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc. represented by. Daniel P. Javellana, Abono partylist Inc. represented by Rosendo So, Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan, Inc. represented by Rep. Angelo B. Palmones Jr., Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Phil. Inc. represented by Rep. Nicanor Briones, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc. represented by Rico Geron, Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative represented by Dr. Angelito D. Bagui, and Association of Phil. Aqua Feeds Millers Inc. represented by Napoleon G. Co.
The petition asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the BOI three resolutions relating to the tax incentives, declare these resolutions null, and order the BOI to refrain from implementing these.
The resolutions give Charoen the right to claim tax breaks as a new producer of several agriculture products, including aqua feeds, swine parent stocks, fatteners and culled breeders, and live chickens.
The petitioners, citing five reasons for the charge of grave abuse of discretion, asserted that the BOI officials failed to consult with the Department of Agriculture as required under Executive Order 226, made a “whimsical” decision which was contrary to public policy and unreasonable, and denied the local agricultural sector the right to appeal the resolutions in question.
“The grant of incentives to an industry giant like Respondent Charoen is not reasonable and will cause irreparable damage to the domestic agriculture industry,” the petition read.
The issue was also the subject of a Joint Congressional Hearing of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Food Security and Committee on Agriculture and Food conducted in December last year.