MANILA -– Leaders of various organizations of hog and poultry raisers nationwide yesterday threatened to impose a five-day pork and chicken holiday anew if technical smuggling is not stopped.
The leaders are AGAP party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones; ABONO party-list chairman Rosendo So; Edwin G. Chen, president, Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines, Inc.; Daniel Javellana Jr., chairman, National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc.; Gregorio San Diego Jr., president, United Broilers Raisers Association; and Ernesto Ordonez, chairman, Alyansa Agrikultura.
All of them concurred on stating that the biggest problem they encounter is smuggling, if not solved, would worsen poverty situation in the country.
Briones said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has ordered for a review of the DA's Administrative Order no. 5, which hog raisers have criticized as favoring meat importers.
Alcala also ordered a stop to accrediting new importers and a review of the existing list for purging.
An estimated P8.5 billion was lost from July 2011 to February 2012, with 2.2 million hogs sold each month.
Technical smuggling also caused the government to lose some P3.7 billion in revenues annually.
Briones said the Bureau of Customs also assured the industry that it will implement a 100 percent inspection of imported meat.
He also lauded the government for allotting one representative from the industry to participate in the inspection.
So, meanwhile, said although they welcomed this development the industry had not dropped its threat to go on a five-day pork and chicken holiday again until the government had totally stopped the unhampered technical smuggling.
“It this actually a sacrifice for the backyard hog raisers not to sell their products and lose income for five days, but the effect of this is significant, something that we are hoping for to achieve – that they (government) would look into our plight,” he said.
On the other hand, Chen said the list of meat importers must be purged because there are more illegal importers that the legitimate ones.
The stakeholders, showing a basis for their claim of increasing illegal pork importation, cited a report which shows that it has steadily increased from 109,366,006 kilos in 2011; the highest was registered in 2010 at 178,905,096 kilos.
"Until we see the government level playing field, we cannot be complacent. We want smuggling completely eradicated," So said.*PNA