Pork producers seek Duterte intervention as supplies drop, prices rise

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 08 2021 02:40 PM

Pork cuts and products go on sale with inspection certificates hanging in stalls at the Angeles City Public Market in Angeles, Pampanga on October 29, 2019. Pampanga-based Mekeni Food Corporation recently recalled their pork products amid reports that some have tested positive for African swine fever. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A group of pork producers on Monday sought the intervention of President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing the rising prices of pork after the agriculture department has supposedly failed in curbing African swine fever.

Duterte should call for a "summit" of hog raisers, traders, retailers, supermarkets, the DA and the trade department, said Nicanor Briones, vice president for Luzon of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines.

The President last week had ordered a price cap on pork and chicken products in Metro Manila following the spike in the prices of these food items.

"Ang mahal na Pangulo na ang dapat makialam sapagkat lahat ng binibitawan ni Secretary (William) Dar, desisyon na pinaaabot sa mahal na Pangulo ay mali," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo as he again called for Dar's resignation.

(The President should intervene because every decision Secretary Dar makes is wrong.)

"Dapat palitan na niya si Secretary Dar. Kung gusto niya pa ring bigyan ng trabaho, eh di ilipat niya. Magtayo siya ng bagong departamento, Department of Importation, dyan sa nababagay. Puro pabor sa importers at smugglers yang ginagawa niya ngayon."

(He should replace Secretary Dar. If he still wants him to have a job, move him to another agency, Department of Importation, which fits him. His policies all favor importers and smugglers.)

Instead of giving importers incentives, the DA should curb the spread of ASF by giving raisers P10,000 per hog that contract the illness, according to Briones.

"Napakalaki ng itutulong nyan, bakit? Hindi na patuloy kakalat ang African swine fever dahil magdedeklara, di na rin matatakot ang magbababoy na mag-alis ng alaga sapagkat di naman sila mababankrupt kung tamaan. Meron sila ulit mapaguumipisahan kada ulo," he said.

(It will greatly help because raisers won't be afraid to declare ASF because they won't become bankrupt. They will still have capital.)

The agency should also increase supply of protein alternatives fish, vegetables and beef, Briones added.

"Paramihin natin ang supply ng ibang produkto--gulay, isda, baka-- para yung lilipatan medyo mababa," he said.

(We should increase the supply of other products--gulay, isda, baka--so when consumers switch to these the prices are low.)

The group is not against importation, Briones said as he called for a 40 percent tariff which can be used to fund hog raisers hit by ASF.

"Ang laki-laki na ng tinutubo nila bakit yun ang binibigyan mo ng pabor? Kumolekta tayo ng taripa nang meron tayong itulong sa mga magbababoy na naghihirap o kaya sa ating mga consumer," he said.

(They earn big profits, why would you give them incentives? Let's collect tariff from them so we can help hog raisers or our consumers.)

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