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Hog, poultry raisers abandon planned 'pork holiday'

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Hog and poultry raisers have agreed not to push through with their planned "pork holiday" after the Department of Agriculture (DA) vowed to enforce quarantine inspection on agricultural products that enter the Philippine ports.

The agreement was reached during a meeting Tuesday between hog and poultry raisers and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon, Bureau of Animal Industry and National Meet Inspection Service chiefs. p>Edwin Chen, president of the Pork Producers of the Philippines, one of the groups clamoring for the halt of meat smuggling, said their problem was solved with the DA-quarantine inspection of agricultural products unloaded at ports.

It was also agreed that a BOC-DA team will be formed for the market monitoring.

Alcala said he was glad an agreement has been reached on the problem of meat smuggling besetting hog and poultry raisers.

”What is fine is that there is an agreement among the Agriculture sector, the Bureau of Customs and the private sector that the DA’s quarantine officers would inspect the agricultural products that come in our ports,” Alcala said during an interview with DA reporters at the DA press office after the meeting.

The problem stemmed out when the hog raisers threatened to declare “pork holiday” several months ago because of the meat smuggling they alleged killing their livelihood. They blamed the BoC particularly Commissioner Biazon for not showing them the Cargo Inward Foreign Manifests (IFM) if the imported goods/meats were undervalued or if the declared value was lower than the reference price.

The problem aggravated when the Department of Finance, under which the BOC operates, denied Alcala's request for IFM.

There was an agreement arrived during the meeting that the IFM will now be given to the DA quarantine officers who will inspect the imported agricultural products prior to BOC’s processing and collection of duties and taxes.

”This is now okay with us, at least with the access of quarantine officers since we will now know if the goods are not under the reference price; unlike before when we are not shown the IFM,” said Chen during the interview.

Alcala said the DA-quarantine inspection will be implemented the first week of July as everything discussed will have now a timeline.

”Our men will be the one responsible to find out if there is any misdeclaration on the imported goods,” he said.

He said he would write the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry notifying them of what was agreed upon that the reference price of imported agricultural products would be required from the manufacturers and confirmed by their respective ambassadors.

Alcala and Chen expressed hope the hog and poultry industry will soon find their bright days ahead.

by: PNA




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