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

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2021   •   214

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)

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 

DA to investigate alleged diversion, overpricing of pork supply

Marje Pelayo   •   February 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Reports have reached the Department of Agriculture (DA) that hog supplies from Mindanao supposed to be delivered to markets in Metro Manila are being diverted to other provinces.

This prompted the DA to conduct an investigation and identify traders who are not following the conditions imposed by the department.

“Paiimbestigahan natin ang nagtataas ng presyo kasi pinaka importante ang kundisyon ni Secretary (Dar),” explained DA USsec. Ernesto Gonzales.

“Iyong bibigyan ng subsidy dapat mag comply sa ating price cap at dapat din ay NCR ang bagsak ng baboy hindi sa labas ng NCR,” he added.

But traders are also having a hard time finding hogs with low farm gate prices.

The Manila Meat Dealers Association is requesting for a price ceiling on farm gate prices so that they would be able to sell it to vendors at a lower price.

“Dalawang araw akong hindi nakahakot kasi wala akong makunang mababa ang presyo nagtaasan sila lahat,” said the group’s representative Ricardo Chan.

“Pangalawa pa yung mga karatig-bayan yun ang kalaban namin mas mataas ang offer nila kasi hindi sila kasali sa price ceiling,” he added.

Meanwhile, officials of the DA and the local government of caloocan city inspected the pork vendors in Maypajo market.

They were found to be compliant of the P270/kilogram and P300/kilogram price ceiling for kasim and liempo respectively.

But they are still complaining of not earning enough due to the high price they get from traders.

“Medyo mabigat kasi di namin kaya ang presyo tsaka magkano lang ang patong namin dyan. pero wala din kaming magagawa kaya sumusunod lang kami sa reglamento nila,” said pork retailer Rene Beñas.

“Lugi kami dahil sa P250/kg. ang puhunan tapos benta namin P270/kg hanggang P300/kg dapat mga P220/kg man lang para ok na sa P270/kg. na benta,” added Jimmy Hernandez, also a pork vendor.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan said that they are about to pass a resolution to waive the vendors’ stall fee, like what they did last year when the pandemic started.

“Sinusuportahan namin sila. ang totoo libre nga yung renta nila. simula noong pandemya hanggang June 2021 libre,” Malapitan explained.

The DA said more shipments of hogs from Mindanao are coming this week.

“Konting tiis nalang siyempre tatamaan dyan yung trader. konting sakripisyo lang hanggang maibabalik na natin sa tama (yung presyo),” noted Jerry Pelayo, DA’s National Coordinator for LGU. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Palace assures gov’t action for sufficient supply of pork

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang has assured the public that government agencies are taking steps to ensure that the supply of pork products will be sufficient amid the ongoing pork holiday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said government agencies including the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are looking into various approaches to ease the effects of limited pork supply.

The DTI said it will prevent and apprehend price manipulators and supply hoarders, while the DA will begin repopulation efforts of hog raisers, including breeders and multiplier farms. 

“Patuloy po ang ginagawang hakbang ng ating gobyerno para makatiyak na may sapat na suplay ng baboy sa ating mga palengke. Kasama sa ating gagawin ang ‘repopulation’ na may nakalaan na PhP600-M na pondo (The government continues its response to ensure there is enough pork supply in our markets. This includes allotting P600 million budget for repopulation),” he said.

Roque added that the government also launched the Bantay ASF sa Barangay program where the DA will provide LGUs with test kits to detect the swine flue faster.

He also reiterated the imposition of a mandated price ceiling on selected pork and chicken products in the National Capital Region. –AAC

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