Agriculture chief denies favoring importation amid calls for his resignation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2021 01:13 AM

Agriculture chief denies favoring importation amid calls for his resignation 1
Agriculture Secretary William Dar. Photo courtesy of BAR
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MANILA - Agriculture Sec. William Dar on Monday denied he's favoring the importation of agricultural products instead of supporting local producers amid the skyrocketing of price of pork.

A group of pork producers earlier accused Dar of favoring importers and smugglers, leading to the supposed failure of the agriculture department to curb the African swine fever.

"Hindi totoo 'yun. Binabalanse natin 'yung kapakanan … tayo tinutulungan natin, first priority, ang ating mga local hog producers. At alam naman ninyo, andami naming programa diyan. At etong ASF nandiyan pa, so tuloy-tuloy pa ang pagpuksa natin," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(That's not true. We are balancing ... we will help, first priority, our local hog producers. And as you know, we have a lot of programs about that. And the ASF is still there, so we are continuing to curb it.)

Dar said he "will continue to serve at the pleasure" of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Nicanor Briones, vice president for Luzon of the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, has sought the intervention of Duterte in addressing the rising prices of pork.

The President should call for a "summit" of hog raisers, traders, retailers, supermarkets, the DA and the trade department, Briones said, since "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 claimed.

(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.)

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

But hog vendors went on a "pork holiday" on Monday due to their reported losses over the price ceiling. Some retailers threatened to halt selling pork after Duterte capped the price.

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