Meat processors' group assures public of 'enough' food supply

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2020 01:00 PM | Updated as of Mar 29 2020 01:12 PM

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MANILA - A group of Filipino meat processors on Sunday urged national and local governments to "be consistent and follow one national direction" as it assured the public of enough supply of food during the lockdown of Luzon to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Jerome Ong, vice president of the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (PAMPI), said the group's members now have 15 days stock of goods after coordination with authorities regarding checkpoints.

The group earlier warned that its inventory dwindled to only 15 days or less following panic buying and travel restrictions. Government has since assured the public of unhampered cargo delivery.

"I'm very pleased to tell everyone that through our continuous collaboration with the government... we have made a lot of headway this past week... Our workers are now able to go through the checkpoints and come to work for us to ramp up our production," Ong said in an interview on ANC.

Ong said this resulted in the steady improvement of the group's production output and inventories.

"As we were getting support that we needed from government last week, we also were able to get assurance from our suppliers, both foreign and local, so that we now have at least 3 to 4 months inventory and incoming shipment of the needed raw materials. So that in case of a protracted lockdown, or enhanced community quarantine, we can continue to feed our countrymen," he said.

"We expect supply of essential food products, specifically canned meat and other food products that our sector manufactures. We expect it to improve to 15 days or more in the coming weeks."

According to him, with all the combined measures the sector has taken with government, the inventories of finished goods of its members can go up from 15 days to 20 days in the next week of so.

"There’ll be enough food for everyone. Even for the next 3 to 4 months, we can assure a steady supply of goods," Ong said.

Ong, meantime, said different quarantine policies in provinces will "surely result in a food crisis."

"Our call to the national government and all local governments is to be consistent and follow one national direction," he said. 

"There cannot be an enhanced community quarantine Luzon-wide and then different provinces have their own version. It will surely result in a food crisis. We firmly believe it has to be one consistent direction across the country."