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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, April 15, 2016
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Nat'l pig holiday looms

Pork producers and hog raisers in Manila and Cebu are waiting for the government to address the rampant smuggling of imported meat before deciding if they will pursue a five-day nationwide pig holiday.

At the opening yesterday of the 25 th National Hog Convention and Trade Exhibits at SMX Convention Center, Bacolod City, Edwin Chen, president of the Pork Producers Federation of the Phils. Inc. (ProPork), said “We are waiting for the Department of Agriculture on how they will minimize the smuggling of imported meat with a concrete action taken soon.”

Undersecretary for Operations (Livestock) Jose Reaño assured the hog raisers associations that DA has partnered with the Bureau of Customs to address the issue.

“BOC will be in charge upon arrival of the goods,” Reaño said.

The bureau can waive the Bank Secrecy Law for Importation by signing a waiver to access the bank accounts concerning the products imported, he said, adding that if there seems to be no discrepancy in the bank records, there is no more need to inspect the imported goods.

Meanwhile, the DA will make sure that the classification of the imported livestock parts, he said.

The department will classify around 30 parts of pork, beef and chicken with of up to 12 digits, he added.

Although Negros Occidental is not affected by the imported meat smuggling, the hog raisers in the province are very supportive of the efforts of ProPork, Cynthia De la Cruz, president of the Alliance of Hog Raisers of Neg. Occ., said.

She said Manila, Cebu and Luzon producers are directly affected by the smuggled meat and this also affects the price of pork in the said areas.

Smuggled pork is also hazardous to the health of consumers since the meat has been stored for a long time, and no longer good for consumption, she said, adding that this needs the attention of the government.

Chen said smuggled meat causes distress to the livestock industry in the country as it is sold at much lower prices and could also be expired and unhealthy for consumers.

ProPork also wrote to President Benigno Aquino III and published an open letter asking the government to address the smuggling of imported meat in broadsheets and tabloid last March 14, he said.

If the plan to hold the pig holiday is pursued, it will surely have a great impact in the market, he also said.*KBC



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