MANILA - Two weeks into the imposition of the price cap for pork and poultry in Metro Manila, the Department of Agriculture revealed Thursday it has received reports traders are bringing some of the meat from Mindanao to provinces outside the capital region that are not covered by the price ceiling.
Agriculture Undersecretary Ernesto Gonzales said Thursday they have instructed the DA enforcement team to monitor the meat being brought from Mindanao to make sure they end up in Metro Manila markets— a measure undertaken to ensure supply amid the impact of the African swine fever across the country.
“Pupuntahan 'yan ng ating enforcement. In fact, we also requested the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police) to conduct the surveillance. From there, kung saan siya darating susundan 'yan hanggang sa slaughterhouse,” he said.
(Our enforcement team will go there. Where meat traders go, they will be followed until the slaughterhouse.)
Gonzales said they are now studying the possibility of imposing the price cap in the entire Luzon.
DA Secretary William Dar, meanwhile, said they are delegating the task to the local price coordinating councils headed by local chief executives to impose suggested retail prices.
Traders and vendors lamented they're not able to get pork supply from the DA despite arrivals from Mindanao, averaging at 4,560 live hogs daily, which are intended for Metro Manila wet markets.
Some vendors have shifted to selling imported frozen pork due to the lack of supply from the agency.
Ricardo Chan, president of the Manila Meat Dealers Association, said they don’t know where to get meat supplies shipped by the DA.
“Hindi namin nakikita kahit anino man lang ng baboy na 'yan na sinasabi ng DA eh. Wala ring kumokontak sa amin. 'Di natin alam kung saan kukunin 'yang baboy na 'yan,” he said.
(We don't see any of the supply which the DA has been saying. No one has contacted us. We don't know where to get those hogs.)
Chan urged the DA to show a list of traders and wholesalers who are getting meat supply from slaughterhouses.
“'Pag inilantad nila, malalaman ng mga tao saan napupunta 'yung mga baboy. Maaaring kami rin makakuha ng murang baboy, madadala namin sa mga market, kakalat,” he said.
(If they reveal them, the people will know where the pigs are delivered. We may also be able get cheap hogs and deliver them to the markets and spread them.)
Malacañang earlier said 2,000 hogs were shipped from Mindanao to Metro Manila to address a supply shortage of pork and bring down its prices.
If hog shipments from other parts of the country are not enough to raise the supply in Metro Manila, the Philippines is ready to import, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.