DA intensifies border control amid African Swine Fever scare

Marje Pelayo   •   April 5, 2019   •   3452

FILE PHOTO: Pigs are seen in a piggery at a village near Warsaw April 10, 2014. Poland has asked the European Union to intervene in a spat over Russia banning imports of Polish pork and says that the case could be taken up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia suspended imports in February, citing concerns that cases of African swine fever among wild boars in Poland could spread to farmed pigs. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (POLAND – Tags: ANIMALS HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines intensifies its border control against the entry of meat products from Cambodia and other countries that currently declared African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

The World Animal Health Organization or OIE has confirmed the ASF outbreak in Cambodia, the second Southeast Asian country to be affected by the deadly swine disease.

This was revealed by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on the sidelines of the 28th National Hog Convention and Trade Exhibits on Thursday (April 4).

In his Facebook page, the Agriculture Secretary said a total of 15 meat-sniffing dogs, all German Shepherds, will be stationed in areas before the Customs counter of the International airports starting this weekend.

To be commissioned by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), the initial batch of service dogs are all from Talisay City, Negros Occidental K9 Field of Dreams.

Meanwhile, another 40 dogs are now being trained for meat sniffing and will be deployed in two months, according to Secretary Piñol.

Cambodia will join 15 other countries banned from shipping meat products to the Philippines, with the most recent prohibitions from Vietnam and Mongolia. – Marje Pelayo

READ: Filipinos urged to buy local pork products amid fears of African Swine Fever

Hontiveros urges DA to focus on ramping up efforts vs ASF instead of price caps

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Risa Hontiveros has urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to focus its efforts on preventing the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) instead of imposing price ceilings.

“The government should instead channel its efforts to bring credibility to testing, reporting, and responding to local outbreaks, among others. Hindi na nakakatulong ang ipinataw nilang price control (imposing price control is not helping), so let’s look deeper than the surface,” the senator said.

Hontiveros noted that the DA is already boosting local hog supply by distributing mother pigs and feeds to ASF-cleared areas, however, hog raisers still fear subsequent waves of infection.

Instead of repopulation plans, Hontiveros said the DA should also teach hog raisers preventive measures to protect livestock from ASF. She added that the price cap is making it almost impossible for vendors to recover from the “twindemic” of COVID-19 and ASF.

“Nakararanas tayo ng ‘Twindemic’ —pandemya ng COVID-19 at epidemya ng ASF. Kambal din ang dagok sa ating magbababoy na nalubog pa dahil sa itinakdang price ceiling (We are experiencing a ‘Twindemic’—COVID-19 pandemic and the ASF epidemic. Our hog raisers are also experiencing twin challenges due to the price ceiling),” the senator said.

Hontiveros also proposed to revoke the imposed price ceiling to help affected producers and retailers recover from their losses.

“Dumadaing na ang ating producers at retailers. Ilang eksperto na ang tumutol sa pagpapatupad ng price ceiling. Bawiin na sana ito para makabawi naman sa lugi ang ating mga kababayan (Our producers and retailers are complaining. Several experts have already expressed opposition to implementation of a price ceiling. It should be revoked for the sake of our fellowmen),” she added. AAC 

Meat dealers, vendors at Commonwealth Market to go on pork holiday starting Feb. 22

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Meat dealers and vendors at Commonwealth Market agreed to not sell pork starting Monday (February 22).

They said it is not because they are protesting against the government but because of income loss due to the implementation of the price cap on pork.

“Lahat tayo namomroblema kung saan tayo kukuha ng baboy ngayon. Mayroon naman, sobrang taas. Lalong hindi natin masusunod yung P270 na iyan. Ngayon ano magiging solusyon natin? Ito. Nagpapaalam tayo sa administrator natin na hindi muna tayo magtitinda,” said Toto Rillo, a meat vendor.

Vendors argued that up to present, they still get pork at a higher price and not all of them are able to recieve from deliveries provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA) coming from other parts of the country.

“Paano naman kami? Ubos na ang puhunan namin at wala na kaming ipapaubos kasi ubos na. Yan ang totoo. Magpakatotoo tayo. Nagbibigay tayo ng 270 peso negative,” argued Norma Noma, also a meat dealer.

What they appeal is for DA to increase the price cap to at least P330 per kilogram that is effective in the entire Luzon region.

They also argued against reports that some supplies that are supposedly for Metro Manila are diverted to other provinces where they can be sold at the much higher price.

This shouldn’t be the case, they said, as the government even provided transportation subsidy for the supplies to reach Metro Manila.

According to DA, they are now investigating the matter while the agency is studying the possibility of implementing the price cap to the whole of Luzon.

“Susundan natin yung pagdating mismo ng shipment. Pupuntahan yan ng ating enforcement (team),” said DA Undersecretary Ernesto Gonzales.

“Susundan iyan hanggang sa slaughter house. Kung ilalabas yan, hindi nila matatanggap yung subsidy,” he added. -MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DA sets SRP for wholesale pork

Marje Pelayo   •   February 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Government officials conducted a price inspection in several markets to determine if the mandated price cap is being followed.

With the supply from Mindanao and Visayas in transit to Metro Manila, officials want to assure that pork vendors would be able to purchase pork meat from traders at a lower price.

For this reason, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has set a suggested retail price for wholesale of pork.

“Iyong SRP for wholesale ay P235 per kilogram para mayroon ng sapat na kita ang trader doon o yung wholesaler tapos ibigay na sa retailers sapat pa rin ang kita niya within the price cap,” explained Agriculture Sec. William Dar.

As for imported pork, Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said he will oblige supermarkets and public market vendors to put proper labels on pork to identify the imported meat from locally produced meat.

“Kasi kung imported ito at mas mura naipasok dito ay sigurado dapat ang presyo nila mas mababa,” noted Lopez.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is waiving market rental fees for meat vendors who joined the pork holiday, a measure that will be recommended to Metro Manila mayors also.

Only 10% sa ating public markets ang nagkaroon ng mga vendors na nagbenenta ng baboy at 21% kahapon ng mga private markets ang nagtinda ng baboy within the price ceiling,” Belmonte noted.

“Sa public markets definitely kapag wala kayong tinda hindi kayo magbabayad ng pwesto ninyo. Gusto natin i-waive yung mga rental fees at ganun din sa mga private markets,” she added.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos also vowed to help enforce standardized measures in all local government units (LGUs)  to ensure that the price ceiling will be implemented across all markets in the metropolis. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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