Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the entry of processed meat with certification from the Food and Drug Administration should be allowed as it is safe for human consumption.
Boy Santos/File
DILG urged: Don’t lift ban on processed meat
Louise Maureen Simeon, Raymund Catindig, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture stakeholders have expressed concern on the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for local government units (LGUs) to lift the ban on processed meat amid the African swine fever (ASF) scare.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the entry of processed meat with certification from the Food and Drug Administration should be allowed as it is safe for human consumption.

Año issued the order on Monday after the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) said it would incur more than P50 billion in losses due to the ban especially during the Christmas season.

“Mahihirapan tayo, mauubusan ng supply,” Año said.

In a letter to Año, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) disputed the claim of PAMPI, saying the hog industry suffered the biggest loss due to ASF.

“The processed meat industry is minuscule compared to the P500-billion hog industry and allied businesses. PAMPI’s claim of losses is not equal to the declared value of the industry as per Board of Investment records,” Sinag chairman Rosendo So said.

So said millions of backyard hog raisers, rice growers, corn farmers, coconut tillers, sugar workers, market vendors, sales agents and workers in the veterinary and feed milling industry rely on the hog industry, but they never complained on the ban to protect areas that are ASF-free.

“The hemorrhage to the industry of the ASF is real, catastrophic and in billions of pesos... We support the decision of LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao to ban the entry of processed meat ... to ensure that they remain ASF-free,” he said.

Mindanao hog raisers called for a dialogue with the Department of Agriculture, DILG and Department of Trade and Industry to forge a common approach to address ASF while protecting the hog and meat processing industries.

At least 21 areas in Bulacan, Rizal, Pampanga and Quezon City were hit by ASF.

More than 40,000 hogs have been culled.

Pork sausage seized

Meanwhile, in Ilocos Sur, 130 kilos of pork sausage were seized at a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Bio, Tagudin on Monday.

Police said Wilma Padua and the driver of a tricycle where the sausage were loaded, Romel Bucsit, were held after they failed to present the necessary documents.

In Isabela, 45 kilos of frozen pork jowl were seized from a meat shop in Barangay District 1, Tumauini.

Lt. Nomer Puerto, Tumauini police officer-in-charge, said the processed meat are imported from Spain and marked “Friselva.”

Puerto said the seized items were burned in a dump in Barangay Arcon.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER
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